Each year, give or take, Orange County Mensa holds a Regional Gathering. This is a three-day convention during which a few hundred Severely Gifted scare a whole hotel of people, act silly, and try to score with the opposite sex. Proximity of Seisure World/Laguna Beach - more than 20,000 60+ women goaded with Premarin and loaded with Viagra samples - makes this a matter more of aesthetics than opportunity. We will explore the silly part (which is often the priapic part, too - but not this time, other than Signe's thong).
The Saturday catered dinner is followed by some sort of desirable event whose seating gives priority to those who forked over the money for dinner. In 2002 dinner was not much to speak of, but neither was the post-prandial entertainment. It was a sketch written three days before and bludgeoned into painful near-adequacy by a Mensan Hollywood screenwriter from bad medical jokes hastily harvested from the Internet as Google gagged. Amidst the bad puns and unforgiveable japes,
Woman in labor, "Wouldn't, shouldn't, can't, won't, isn't..."
pseudo-Doctor, "Quick! She's having contractions!"
was Uncle Al being extruded (lame special effects) from between the tensely beckoning thighs of middle-aged, naturally blonde, petite, and thoroughly luscious Signe wearing oversize surgical scrubs. The newborne, moi, then chased "mom" around the stage while loudly protesting unrequited endearment and enjoying his own show as Signe's scrubs bounced south while southern Signe firmly jostled north. It looked like a black kid leather thong and it lifted and separated with the best of them. If ever a case for incest presented itself...
Getting back to the sad part, the entertainment projected at the crowd, we join a high point of the evening prior to the Casino: Uncle Al's top TEN LIST of disgusting diseases, plus learned commentary and unendearing remarks from the crowd. It takes a lot to make a Mensan give back food. We had a lot.
Number 10, Empyema!
Pus filling the pleural cavity, though by extension any body cavity will do. Trivially treatable if the patient sticks around. The treatment is also disgusting.
Number 9, Condyloma acuminata!
Venereal warts - epidermal manifestation attributed to human papillomavirus. We're talking big time hyperplasia. "Eruptions may have a disturbing appearance." Treated by cautery and anti- virals (unless your woman likes the extra naughty baggage).
Number 8, Ichthyosis!
Inherited. Continuous scaling of the skin - massive whole-body dandruff in large pieces in real time. Kids suffering it have a really hard time with their confreres, except on Halloween.
Number 7, Proteus syndrome!
Elephant man (not neurofibromatosis). Really nasty, but only 120 cases currently logged worldwide.
Number 6, Canthariasis!
Intestinal infestation by beetle larvae or rectal infestation by adult beetles. "Makin' my way back home..."
Number 5, Buruli ulcer!
Caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium ulcerans. The third most common human mycobacterial infection after tuberculosis and leprosy. Exudes mycolactone which liquefies football-sized gobbets of flesh, fat, and muscle including the face. Only treatment is radical surgical ablation. NOT fatal. The Australian vector is the koala bear.
Number 4, Necrotizing fasciitis!
Group A Streptococcal infection, otherwise known as flesh-eating bacteria. It attacks subcutaneous (soft) tissue, centimeters/hour, which then becomes gangrenous. Treated with massive surgical ablation and antibiotics.
Number 3, Lymphogranuloma inguinale!
Nicholas-Favre disease. Caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Lymph nodes closest to the groin infection continue to swell until a pus-filled bulge is created, called a bubo. The buboes increase in size until overlying necrotic skin ruptures. "Delayed healing of multiple abscesses is common." We won't discuss what happens with the genitalia at the center.
Number 2, Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva!
Muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues progessively tranform into bone, encasing the victim in a fatal stone coffin made of his own body. 2 million current cases. "Any attempt to remove the extra bone results in even more robust bone formation."
Number 1, Paper cuts!
Where is your compassion?