Sometimes a story simply screams for attention, like a two-year-old having a floor-squirming tantrum in the supermarket candy aisle (not that any of my little darlings ever mopped the floor of a candy aisle with their writhing bodies…).
Here I am, minding my own techno-schizophrenic business, clicking between exam typing and checking the latest emails, when I remember I hadn’t read the news in at least thirty-six minutes so I’d better check MSN because the world could be soon coming to an end, and I might need to ready myself for Armageddon by eating all the ice cream in the freezer because, surely, the electricity would be the first to be zapped, when this headline flings itself into my eyesight path:
Viagra helps hamsters overcome jet lag
I didn’t get the memo that hamsters had started flying domestic flights, let alone distances that resulted in jet leg. It’s been almost two years since I’ve been in an airport, but I don’t remember seeing little rodent security check-ins. I mean, how much does a hamster require for travel anyway? If it’s on a plane, does it need one of those go-nowhere-fast exercise wheels? Couldn’t it just sprint up and down the aisles while the flight attendant is giving the “don’t use your oxygen mask as a yamaka for your infant” speech? Aren’t most hamsters hanging out in clothing-optional communities?
It soon occurs to me that I’m pondering the complexities of ticketing for rodents, completely overlooking the most stimulating aspect of the story…the Viagra. And, of course, Argentine researchers (which begs the question…what IS going on over there that someone woke up one day and announced, “I think if Viagra can keep certain anatomical body parts awake for extended periods, perhaps it could help people suffering from jet lag.”?) and their decision to use hamsters.
No, the researchers did not carry the hamsters in their pockets on international flights. Too bad for the hamsters; their jet lag was induced by manipulating their schedules with lights.
The experiment, though, did encounter turbulence. First, the researchers discovered that they were giving the hamsters doses that were too high and had to be reduced because of a “certain side effect.” Clearly, the hamsters were not only jet-lag-free, they were party animals. (Personally, I think the researchers are overlooking a potential birth control option here. Perhaps inducing jet lag in humans could result in an accompanying lag in population.) Once hamsters were given intermediate doses of Viagra, researchers discovered it resulted in reduced jet lag on simulated eastbound, but not westbound, flights.
This information does not bode well for those of you planning flights from New York to California. When word gets out in the hamster network that the ones who overdosed on Viagra can board a plane and arrive in New York without jet lag, well, you just might need an exercise wheel of your own while you’re waiting in the security line.