Mysterious doctors treat peculiar diseases

The Reward of Cruelty, an engraving by William Hogarth, (1697–1764)
Oh, you’ll know them when you see them. Mysterious doctors have sinister laughs, and they rub their hands together in glee a lot. Sometimes they wear white coats, other times blue.

They say things like “mmmmm” and “tsk, tsk” and “tut, tut” and “say Ahh” and “what have we here”. They use words ending in “itis”.

They grow goatees to cover their pimply chins. Their eyes bulge. They have lots of hair growing in their nostrils. They have very bad breath.

Mysterious doctors treat mysterious ailments and peculiar diseases, including Housemaid’s Knee, Nutcracker’s Jaw, Wanker’s Wrist, Wondering Nipple, Quackenburger’s Dropsy, Hog-snout Syndrome, Thrush, Sparrow and of course virulent Monday-itis. Not to mention Ankylosing Spondylitis, Myasthenia Gravis and Sixth Nerve Palsy.

Mysterious doctors are adept at removing mysterious organs, and frequently recommend slicing the brain into disconnected halves (very callous, colossal corpses) — a sinister procedure requiring great dexterity.

For mysterious ailments mysterious doctors prescribe mysterious treatments, including but not limited to moxibustion, hirudotherapy and maggot debridement therapy (MDT).

Many mysterious treatments involve tiger penis, rhino horn, bear pancreas and fingers of birth-strangled babes. Some mysterious treatments involve sticking things up peoples’ bums, but don’t let that put you off: it’s an acquired taste.

My cousin had a mysterious ailment, once. (You tend not to get them more than once.) To be specific, he had …


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