Monday, January 31, 2005

January 2005

This month I want to talk about diseases. We already know of the many ailments to which persons born under certain Signs are susceptible, but I'd like to be frank and warn you about some other, lesser known ones. After all, forewarned is forearmed, and it's truly amazing what awful thing can happen to one's forearms if one isn't careful.

Have a healthy month and watch out for ordinary-sized people carrying tartan print measuring tapes...

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Your disease to beware is: thurps

A type of rash, thurpos granulatus, caused by oversensitivity to brassica products...this in turn can be caused by simple overexposure to cabbages, broccoli and sprouts. Thurps is most prevalent among Sto plains vegetable growers, but there have been recent outbreaks in girls' boarding schools and the HRH Magrat Academy of Philosophical Vegetarianism. It is characterised by woody patches on the limbs, a faint greenish skin tint and a disturbing odour...the best known cure for thurps is a vigorous thrice-daily application of fish and chips, though chips alone seem to have a positive effect.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Your disease to beware is: abneghm

Abneghm is a combination of forgetfulness and severe runny nose. This illness is thought to have come originally from Bhangbhangduc in the form of microscopic haemogoblins, although there is new evidence that it is a herrydeterry predisposition in some Chalk and Lancre families, where it occurs in the very young and the very old. For those prone to abneghm, it is best to always carry a good supply of clean dry hankies, since sufferers won't remember to bring them when it really matters. Abneghm is no respecter of age and can strike all classes of society from the highest to the Nobbs. It's an unforgettable ailment - erm, no it's not.

The Two Fat Cousins 22 May - 21 Jun

Your disease to beware is: lacquititis

Lacquititis is an uncontrollable desire to orate whilst drinking milk. The first known victim was Ephebian philosopher Snarkimedius who, on a teaching visit to the Queen of Hersheba, found himself suddenly surprised in her milk-bath and forced to duck his head below the surface - of the bath, you naughty people! - as he was reaching the conclusion of a learned discourse...the poor man's career, among other things, was cut short, but he will always be associated with lacquititis. Sufferers of this ailment are also prone to expletosis, that even more embarrassing condition made famous by Bonk psychologist Tou-Rhetz.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Your disease to beware is: fromagism

Note: not the same as fromagus (a wizard specialising in fromagomancy or cheese magic. You don't want to know about this one, and you definitely don't want to know about The Rinds...fromagism is a little-known disorder of the blood that is thought to be caused by the spores of the rennet bush which, upon entering one's bloodstream, multiply rapidly and soon cause attacks of curds and whey. Some sufferers actually believe themselves to be cheese products - one Fosgrove Probable, a Sto Lat biscuit-polisher, has won ribbons of distinction in four Quirmian dairy exhibitions.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Your disease to beware is: skarpleosury

Also known as skarple tunnel syndrome, skarpleosury affects the skarple tunnel, the invisible but all-important travel area between hand and mouth when imbibing reannuals and beverages made from orchard fruits. This illness tends to come in waves in the warm seasons and during major public holidays and can lay waste to entire pubs, hence its other appellation, Innkeeper's Ruin. Oddly enough, skarpleosury is also found to be rife among sherry-drinking ladies of a certain age. Most famous sufferer: Mostly Apples, a Lancre worm farmer known for his wandering eye. No, really.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Your disease to beware is: Wohrgeist syndrome

Related to the Chimeran wardegris, a disease of oxen, and also to Butch Elm Fungus...symptoms of Wohrgeist include growths of moss on one's north side, mysterious attacks of bad Uberwaldean accents, and an irrepressible urge to commit gloomy philosophy on the blissfully ignorant. First observed in the Bad Badlerhoibraun district of Upper Borogravia, this unfortunate ailment was exported to Ankh-Morpork by one Frenz Hockbrawn in a shipment of aged timber; despite a long and profitable career as a woodcutter, he was mistaken for a small oak due to the thickness of his moss deposits, and ended his days as several rather attractive door panels.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Your disease to beware is: estifole or estifolary

Estifole is the tendency to develop small, complete rivers on one's person. Severe attacks have been known to also afflict the sufferer with bridges, water meadows, tiny paddleboats and in the worst cases, tidal bores. In the tertiary stage, some patients may experience persistent fjords. The causes of estifole are as yet unknown, but the recommended treatment is a two-month visit to desert highlands or a term of duty in the Klatchian Foreign Legion...a related disorder, tectonic sclerosis (also known as Richter's palsy), is being studied with great interest, especially as victims exhibit some fascinating fault lines and are prone to sudden outbreaks of mountain ranges at formal dinners.

Okjok, the Salesman 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Your disease to beware is: phthiphiuth

A condition involving coughing and lisping like an Igor. This is messier than abneghm but involves far less forgetfulness. It generally begins when, in a moment of jollity, one attempts to faithfully render Igor-speech aloud and finds that one cannot thtop - then ath one getth embarrathed and trieth to clear one'th throat, the coughing beginth, and by the time one getth to the thneething, it'th very meththy indeed...thee, erm, see what I mean? Dried Frog Pills are good for curing phthipiuth, as is blowing into a paper bag and counting to seven plus one. For Igors born with a speech impediment, these remedies will have a positive opposite effect, rapidly bringing on a fine tradithional lithp.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Your disease to beware is: caledonia nervosa

Caledonia nervosa: the morbid fear of becoming a Nac Mac Feegle or pictsie. Sufferers will stand for hours in front of mirrors, searching for signs of bright red hair and blue skin, and feel a constant compulsion to measure themselves in the belief that this will prevent a height of six inches from sneaking down on them. The first sign of this socially disruptive disease is a predilection for shouting "Crivens!" and "Och the noo, bigjobs!" Then comes the unnatural preoccupation with sheep, and the urge to steal anything not nailed down [N.B.: see also entry for carpuloses]. Caledonia nervosa tends to make young women break out in attacks of keldas, and in extreme cases causes the wearing of Burberry plaids. Sadly, there is no cure for that.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Your disease to beware is: carpuloses

Carpuloses is the Discly equivalent of kleptomania...and general, erm, seizing of...things. This disease is one of the rare few shared by persons and corvids alike, by the way. Carpuloses victims often wake in the mornings to find their pockets full of unfamiliar string, Klatchian coins, betel nuts, slumpie, coal, cards with strange clacks numbers on them, Aunty Flo's best cutlery, little brightly coloured drinks parasols, shoehorns, water buffalo, and sheets of stationery embossed with From The Desk Of H. Vetinari, Patrician. Some sufferers, unable to effect a cure, become bailiffs.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Your disease to beware is: aun-wi

An Agatean variety of communicable depression, aun-wi often tends to afflict young women who wear a lot of black lace, too much mascara, and pretend to dabble in dark magic...characterised by much sighing and heaving of bosoms, an avoidance of fresh air, poor appetite - or an overdependence on chocolate assortments - and yawning during afternoon tea, aun-wi can strike at any age but the worst documented cases to date have been among females of the newly-wealthy merchant classes. Women of good old stock sometimes suffer aun-wi but are far too polite to mention it.

The Flying Moose 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Your disease to beware is: tinker's drought

Whoever named this unfortunate illness was a wag and no mistake - it does not involve dryness. Trust me on this. Um. I think perhaps we should talk about other illnesses at this juncture. Like influencia, for example - that imp's-egg infestation that causes large numbers of usually sensible people to suddenly invest in nonexistent overseas properties...or the uncommon cold, a Howondaland virus that manifests itself in icicles on embarrassing body parts...or the Ankh Staggers. You know where you are with diseases like those. Your friends - and ladyfriends - aren't prone to laugh at diseases like those. But tinker's drought? Let's not go there.

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