… or does it???
One day I was eating some chicken, outdoors, somewhere in Africa, with a colleague I had been living with for a few months and two brand new visitors, Dick and Jane1 from the US. After cleaning most, but not all, of the meat off a leg bone, I tossed it to Hozi the Cat, who eagerly grabbed it and took it behind my chair to munch it down.
Jane, lunging at the cat, “No, no. No!!!! She’ll die, she’ll choke to death!”
The cat moved behind a different chair, with half the bone, the other half already having been munched down.
“Oh, don’t worry, I feed her all the chicken bones. She can’t choke on them. She’s a cat. Her mother also ate all the chicken bones, ’till she was killed by that rabid dog. Her daddy was a wild cat. He’s probably watching us right now from the jungle while he munches on some bones.”
Looking around, still scampering after the cat, “Cats can’t eat bones, they choke on the splinters.”
“No they don’t. It’s never happened,” I said. Yes, I admit, I was taunting her.
“I know a cat that did!” she yelled, following the cat, still dragging its bone, behind the dish drying rack next to the baraza.2
“What?” said Jane, now following the cat to it’s place next to my chair. It’s bone was all eated and it wanted another.
“What was the name of the cat that you saw choke to death on a chicken bone before your very eyes, Jane?”
“Well, I didn’t see it. It was, I think, my cousin’s cat.”
“What was it’s name? I said sternly, “If you don’t know its name, you don’t know it existed, and if you don’t know it existed, you don’t know it died from eating a chicken bone.”
Jane fell silent, despondent almost. I dropped a mess of wing bones in front of Hozi. She eated them all, and did not die. Later, she ate the backbone.
I’m not going to try to tell you that dogs don’t die from eating bones, because a) there are too many dog-symps out there who believe that they do and b) for all I know they do it all the time. Dogs are probably too domesticated to trust doing what millions of years of evolution has prepared them for (eating the bones). Not that I can name a single dog that died of eating a bone. Maybe you can. If you do, though, make it real. You have to have been in the house where it happened and you have to have seen the dead dog and heard the vet say that it really died of choking on a bone. That is not too much to ask. Real evidence, not just that you heard about it or that you believe it must have happened. X-rays of the bone in the throat.
I wonder if Mythbusters would be interested in taking this one on. It is a lot like many other myths they have addressed, and the incredulity that leads one to even call something a myth (which does have the connotation that it is untrue) is similar. Why just the other day I was watching Mythbusters and they were asking some dude about some myth and the guy said “Yeah, I hear that happens all the time.” Then there was a bit of a passe. “But when you ask a guy if he actually saw it happen, it’s always the same answer .. no. Everyone tells you it happens but no one can ever honestly say they saw it happen. I don’t think it happens.”
So some years ago I was walking back from the bar with Laura3 and two other people when the question of a Korean Airliner blowing up over the Western Pacific came up.
Laura said, “Yeah, did you hear they released the tapes from the cockpit?”
“No,” someone said.
“The last words were the son of the co-pilot, who was visiting the cockpit. He said ‘what’s this button daddy.’”
I assumed she was joking.
“Yeah, that’s when it came out that 747s have a destruct button.”
I continued to assume she was joking. But eventually it became clear that she was not. She really thought that it went down that way. I didn’t say anything. Then a couple of months later this conversation happened:
Laura, “Yeah, that guy at the bar, they should have tossed him out,” referring to some guy who was behaving poorly at the local bar where a bunch of us had been having lunch. “Back in my day as a bartender,” which, as I recalled, was like last week, “I would have Visene’d him.”
“Yeah, slipped a few drops of Visene eye drops in his beer. Cant’ taste it, but in a few minutes you have uncontrollable diarrhea. Tends to make the poorly behaved customer go home. All bartenders know about this and do it all the time.”
Well, OK, I thought. Nice trick. I’ll have to remember to always be nice to ‘Laura.’
Then, much later in time, in fact, earlier today, I came across this in our local news:
… Woman Accused Of Sickening Roommate With Eye Drops
OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — A 22-year-old woman is accused of putting eye drops in her roommate’s water bottle to make her sick.
According to a Winnebago County criminal complaint, Reichel’s roommate was nauseated and had diarrhea, loss of appetite and fatigue in October. Her doctor couldn’t explain the symptoms.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Reichel told someone she had spiked her roommate’s water and laughed about it. That person told the victim, and police got involved.
Reichel allegedly said she was inspired by a scene in the movie “Wedding Crashers.”
So, I thought that was interesting and posted it on facebook, and that’s when Ryan Gagne, an astute observer and close personal facebook friend, pointed me to the Snopes.com page on the Visene thing. It appears that Visene can make you quite sick, but diarrhea is NOT one of the symptoms, and it is not true that a few drops works, and it is true that it can be quite dangerous and that you shouldn’t put this stuff in people’s drinks.
So what happened in Oshkosh? Here’s my theory, which happens to fit the facts but still might be be totally wrong. The roommate got sick because she had the Norovirus which was going around at the time. The alleged culprit, deluded, thinking she was being funny, whatever, boasted a lie, a lie based on a myth. She said she did something that even if she did, she couldn’t have. And for this, she got herself into some real hot water.
This is a totally LOL situation, especially if she serves time for doing something that can’t be done. Funny not because I want to see someone go to prison but because she’d be going to prison for engaging in this very common and quite disturbing delusional behavior.
I quickly add, I could have this totally wrong. I have no idea what actually happened. That was just a hypothesis.
Somewhere along the line, if I’m right, I imagine she’ll have to own up to making the whole thing up. I wonder if she has a cat. Or a dog.
1Not their real names.
2A ramada; A leaf-covered roof held up by four or more polls, usually open on all sides, serves as an eating and gathering area in a traditional Central African village.
3Not her real name.