By The Happy Guy (David Leonhardt)
Viagra. That one word packs a lot of punch. Let's face it; there is little that has been derided more than Viagra. On the talk shows, it has been the butt of more jokes than Michael Jackson and Saddam Hussein combined. For example:
(OK, OK. I admit I was going to share an example or two, but I couldn't find any clean enough to pass my censor's well-trained eyes.)
Of course, if you are not laughing yet from the jokes you could imagine I might have told, it may be because you are so fed up of receiving offers for Viagra in your email inbox, right up there with the prospect of enhancing body parts you didn't even know you owned. In fact, you may even be convinced that spam was invented just to deliver the Viagra industry's message to your personal desktop.
Can anything good come from Viagra?
As a matter of fact, yes. Scientists have actually found a benefit from Viagra (No, I am not talking about experimenting in their labs.) Apparently Viagra is good for the environment.
It took a lot of work and several failed attempts to reach this conclusion. First, the scientists tried to use Viagra as an additive to revive lakes that were dying from acid rain. Unfortunately, it raised the lake's body temperature and fried the fish.
Then they tried using Viagra to replace polluting dry cleaner chemicals, but clothes came back too rigid to wear: "Hey, how come my fleece isn't soft anymore?" "I thought I told you not to starch my collars." "Ouch!"
The researchers tried feeding Viagra to swine, cattle, and chickens, hoping to replace feed sources that now consume vast areas of land. However, the farm animals wouldn't touch the stuff. The cockroaches, however, found it energizing, and before long there were very few barns left.
Next they decided to see if Viagra could be used as a low-polluting fuel to heat homes in the winter. That option looked promising ... until airplanes started hitting the rising chimney stacks. Oops. Then the scientists tried offering Viagra to all the taxi drivers who insisted on idling their polluting engines between fares. Unfortunately, it seems that most cab drivers preferred idling to anything Viagra could do for them (which may explain the way they drive.)
Finally, the researchers have discovered that Viagra can save endangered species. This is no joke – check the wire services on the Internet. In fact, a paper published recently by researchers at the University of Alaska and the University of New South Wales reveals that the trade in exotic body parts used as aphrodisiacs has fallen dramatically since Viagra hit the market.
Rhinos love this, because poachers had made them almost extinct, killing them for the horn, so sought-after by the lovelorn, and leaving the carcass behind. Reindeer feel more secure about their antlers now, too, since the velvet coverings are in less demand. And you may already have noticed fewer seals walking around town with their legs crossed, as the price for their private parts has fallen 72 percent.
Others who are thrilled about this great scientific discovery include sea horses, pipefish, elk and the ever beloved sea cucumber. I am still not sure whether that last one is a joke.
So, is Viagra the butt of countless jokes or the scourge of the Internet? If you look for silver linings, it is neither. It is the savior of endangered species. Now that I've helped clear that up for you, what else do you deride? What else upsets you? Can you find a silver lining? I'm sure you can. If Viagra is a good thing, can there be anything bad?