Weirdness has always been my bread and butter.
I wept inwardly when the Weekly World News went out of business. During my many drives across the country, I've found nothing as invigorating as tuning in to the dystopic nightmare that is the Midwestern AM radio band. I guess that's not surprising, since much of talk radio is pretty much just the auditory version of the Weekly World News. Who wants to listen to homogenized corporate rock when you have some blowhard cloistered away in a soundproof box ranting about how the government encourages vegetarianism so that our children will eat more soy byproducts and turn into french-speaking tree-hugging socialized-health-care-having pantywaisted liberals, soft enough that the U.N. will have no problem coming in their black helicopters, stealing our guns, and sending all remaining red-blooded Americans to work in their acid mines.
Why? To mine varous acids, of course! They have thousands of uses, but are usually used either to fluoridate our water or to dissolve American flags during pagan same-sex mass marriage ceremonies.
I mean, come on - rants about the powers of the shadow government, patriots haunted by soundless black helicopters, and spooky theories about blue-helmeted UN shock troops? It's no more accurate than Red Dawn, but it's also no less entertaining.
Ah, and at night you had Art Bell/George Noory. If the great Midwestern conspiracy theorists measured a seven out of ten on the weird-o-meter, Art Bell took it up to eleven. Insidious soy products, meet tape recordings taken from a Russian mine that drilled all the way... TO HELL.
And I haven't even mentioned Kent Hovind.
In my personal life, however, I don't think I've conversed with anyone that ranked above a three or four on the trusty weird-o-meter. In fact, it's been a really long time since I've encountered classic, sincere, over-the-top weirdness.
It came in the most innocuous form; the phone in the lab rang. It was from the office downstairs.
"Hey, I have a woman on the phone with a call about a chemical she saw on TV, and she's sort of concerned about. I was told that you might be a good person to call about it."
"Of course! I'd be happy to help," I said.
It started innocently enough. Her son had DVR'd an episode of House for her to watch - one where House infects a patient with malaria, presumably to treat his cancer.
I was gearing myself up to give the "that's-not-my-field" speech, when she asked her question.
"Does that have anything to do with the additives that they've been putting on the food supply?"
That caught me off guard. I was momentarily speechless, wherein the mystery caller felt that she should clarify.
"You know, for the last 60 years there's been aluminum and persulfate added to the food, and that coats our organs."
As I was still silent (trying to find a reference point), she let her momentum carry her.
I heard about an experiment that was conducted with a plastic container and salt from a chain store (it stuck to the sides, just like it coats the organs), about how people with coated organs can't reproduce, and that was a eugenic plot to keep certain groups of the population from breeding, "if you know what I mean" (I didn't). The mining of bauxite (a natural source of aluminum) was a sign of what was going on. Because certain genetic conditions can cause the body to become inhospitable to malaria (true), drinking water with a rusty nail in it (because it is rich in iron oxide) can cure cancer (false).
Tutankhamen, former king of Egypt, had malaria and a bone disease. "If only his organs had been coated."
Then, to my surprise, she expressed the belief that perhaps the additives in the food supply were there to keep people healthy.
"Well," she reasoned, "because of the malaria, maybe coating the organs keeps them from being cancerous. I think that's wonderful, people shouldn't be dying of cancer with all this medical science nowadays."
I agreed that the proliferation of cancer was undesirable.
"Well, do you know why House would give that patient malaria?"
I told her I was sorry, it wasn't my field. Perhaps it had something to do with the immune system, being encouraged to fight off the cancer?
She thanked me for time, and hung up.
I think this might be the first time I've ever heard a conspiracy theory about how the government is putting stuff in our food to secretly help people.
It's a strange world out there.