Tuesday, June 22, 2010


A friend sent me something by email today.
He said it came from a reliable source.
The reliable source had heard it from someone.
The email was all about bee stings.

“Tape a penny on the bee sting,” it said
“And the copper will make the swelling go down.
Taking the place of the pain that would have been there.
Remember to send this to everyone you know,
Friends, children and grandchildren.”

“Placebo effect,” I said to myself.
“Or Maybe the penny keeps you from scratching.
Pin your hopes on the power of a simple penny
And something may improve.”

And then I remembered the Nocebo Effect.
A man died of cancer that had been diagnosed
Though the autopsy showed him to be without cancer.
False despair in deadly action,
The dangerous absence of hope.

So I taped a penny to the sorest spot on my back—
Just in case it was a bee sting.

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