Just in case you haven't heard the rumors, I'll take a minute to fill you in. It seems that there may be a man living somewhere in the South who has spent the better part of 40 years engaged in a personal vendetta against our profession.
My first reaction upon hearing this was that a reporter from DVM Newsmagazine should find this man, if in fact he does exist, and arrange an exclusive interview.
A tall order, I know.
Last month, I was able to locate him and get him to agree to meet with me in a public location. After clearing my schedule, I headed south. My destination? The Split Side Home for Retired Practical Jokers in Chortle, La.
I would be interviewing Josh Kneeslapper, a man who claims to have tricked, outsmarted and sabotaged our profession successfully for nearly four decades. He welcomed me enthusiastically.
Mr. K: Welcome, Dr. Obenski. I'm looking forward to sharing my exploits with your readers. But mostly, I'm ready to take credit for all the great gags I've pulled on you vets over the years. Have a seat over there, and we'll get started.
Dr. O: Let me pull up another chair. This one has a whoopee cushion on it. That's better. Now, tell me, what got you started on your anti-veterinarian campaign?
Mr. K: Even as a boy, I loved practical jokes. I was one of the first jokers in America to have genuine-rubber imitation dog poop. When I left it on the kitchen floor, my mother almost fainted. At school, the teacher was grossed out, and one of the girls in the class even threw up. It was a beautiful stunt. But when I left it on the floor in our veterinarian's waiting room, he hardly reacted. After asking someone to clean it up, he went about his business as if dog poop on the floor was an everyday occurrence. My day was ruined. I vowed then and there to invent practical jokes that would work on veterinarians.
Oh, you must be tired after your long trip. I have a cold drink for you; please, have a sip.
Dr. O: Is that a fly on my ice cube? You don't miss a trick do you? Can you tell me what some of your first inventions were?
Mr. K: Sure I can. I invented the little cardboard circles that hold vaccine vials. You know, the kind that won't let go of the vial when you are in a hurry? However, my best vaccine gag is in the diluent miscount. The way it works is that, when you open a new box of vaccines, the number of diluent vials and the number of vaccine vials are the same. However, when you get to the end of the box, there is an extra one without a mate. Sorry, I can't reveal how the gag is done.
Before we continue, may I offer you some chewing gum?
Dr. O: No, thanks. I have an aversion to hot pepper. Could you give me some examples of other gags that you claim credit for?
Mr. K: I'm only asking for credit where credit is due. For example, I invented the machine that stuffs cotton into pill bottles, too. Every time I think of a veterinarian trying to stick two fingers in the jar to pull the stuff out, well, I chuckle. It's even more fun if the package insert is jammed in there with it. More recently, I helped develop the plastic collars on eye-drop bottles. They look like they will peel right off, but it can take five minutes to rip them off with a hemostat. Those are just two of my great pharmacy gags. Incidentally, please help yourself to that dish of peanuts.
Dr. O: Save the old rubber-peanut joke for someone else, OK? Let's just go over more of your outlandish claims.
Mr. K: You're no fun at all. I thought this was going to be a fun interview. Since you seem to be such a skeptic, I will reveal some of my best work. I developed the surgical mask that is impregnated with itching powder. Didn't you ever wonder why your nose never itches unless you are in surgery? Also, ̠take full credit for the white plastic lumps that are added to some brands of penicillin. They will never go through a needle, no matter how long the poor veterinarian stands there shaking the bottle.
I've tricked thousands of your suckers with these gags. Even though I am rarely there to see the joke in action, just knowing the frustration I've caused is reward enough. By the way, the cook wants to know if you'll be staying for lunch.
Dr. O: No, thanks. I'm afraid that you've loosened the lid on the salt shaker for nothing. Tell me, did you always work alone, or were there times when other practical jokers helped you?
Mr. K: I prefer to work alone. But my friend, Tom Foolery, did help me with one project. We developed call waiting. That's the option clients can get with their telephone service that allows them to call the veterinarian and then put him on hold.
Dr. O: Frankly, Mr. Kneeslapper, this whole thing sounds far-fetched. When my readers see this, they're going to say you made up this whole thing.
Mr K: Oh yeah? Well, you tell them that I stand by every word I said today. You tell them this information came straight from the horse's mouth. What do you think they'll say then?
Dr. O: They'll probably say, "Right animal, wrong end."
Dr. Obenski owns Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown, Pa.