Science tells us that there are many rare and valuable substances on Earth such as platinum, diamonds, gold and dog pills.
The medical bills for the mongrel I got from the dog rescue shelter are almost 10 times the size of my own medical bills, apparently because of the "high cost of tablet ingredients."
I spoke to a scientist friend who said the most expensive substance on earth is anti-matter, adding: "If your dog's tablets contain anti- matter, could you steal a few for me?"
I pointed out my dog, aside from being a hypochondriac, is intelligent, numerate, possessive, sharp- toothed, and dangerous when angered. No, wait. That's my wife.
While grumbling about vet bills at work, a colleague suggested I switch from Western to Asian dog medicine. She showed me an article about a dog which took Bathini Fish Remedy.
Once a year, the Bathini family of Hyderabad puts "a secret recipe of herbs and spices" into the mouths of unfortunate live fish, which are then slipped down the throats of patients.
The patients report miraculous healings. (The fish don't do so well, but nobody asks for their opinions.)
Earlier this month, a man turned up with his dog Savitri. He explained he and his pooch were vegetarians but he would let her consume fish just this once. Staff administered the live fish to the dog, I read in the New Indian Express. The man said thank you. The dog said "arf, arf," which the staff assumed meant: "I'm delighted to endorse this wonderful medical product" but probably meant: "Thank God, protein at last."
I was trying to compare the cost of flying my dog to Hyderabad against the price of anti-matter dog tablets, when a Western visitor reading over my shoulder made one of those "Asians are so weird" comments.
We're not weird, I argued, but my assertion was undermined by a reader who chose that moment to send me a photo of the latest Asian flavor of Krispy Kreme donuts: Green tea with red beans. You can wash it down with a yummy can of Salty Watermelon Pepsi, followed by a dessert of Horsemeat Ice Cream. That's Tokyo for you.
Later I read a report that made me sympathize with Westerners trying to adjust to life in Asia.
The Chinanews website said a Frenchman was found weeping in Nanjing after failing to find his flat, even though he was at the right building. He lived in an apartment in a block which was part of a complex of 91 identical towers. Police organized a search and found his home at 1am. Assuming eight flats per floor and 20 stories per building, that's 58,240 people sharing one address.
Now if you'll excuse me, the dog's looking a bit bilious. I need to either remortgage my house or start digging an anti-matter mine.
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