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Wart Remedies

Rub Something On It Then Bury it

The most popular folk remedy for warts seems to be to rub something unpleasant and organic on it, then bury the unpleasant organic thing to rot. The wart is expected to do its part and rot along with the unpleasant organic thing. Typical UOTs include stolen meat, a dirty washrag, or a detached rooster comb. A detached rooster comb. I've never had to consider the prospect of a rooster comb outside of the context of a rooster, and I'm not happy with having to start now. These cures work on the principle of "sympathetic magic," which is where you do something so disagreeable that even if you aren't cured, at least anyone who hears about it will be sympathetic. D

Rub Something On It Then Let Someone Else Find it

What this lacks in detached rooster combs, it makes up for in lack of consideration for other people. The principle here is that there are always going to be a certain number of warts in the world. You can't actually hope to get rid of them permanently, you can only make it so that you don't have to deal with them in your own personal life. Just like boy bands. So to remove a wart, you rub it with something like corn or pebbles or a coin, then leave the item for someone else to find. Whichever hapless bypasser finds the item gets stuck with your wart. I've never tried it with boy bands, but the idea of rubbing a pop star with a kernel of corn is oddly soothing. C


And now: science! One promising method for removing warts is to blast them with ultra-cold liquid nitrogen until the flesh is dead. Then you admire your scar and hope the wart stays gone. Sometimes you need follow-up flesh mortification. It's interesting how a lot of modern medical techniques make leeching seem relatively relaxing. On the other hand, modern beauty treatments can make leeching seem like eating a nice slice of homemade pie while sitting on the front porch listening to the whippoorwills sing. Wart removal is both a medical treatment AND a beauty treatment, so it's only appropriate that it use techniques that sound like interrogation methods from Babylon 5 novels. B-

Salicylic Acid

Nasty, nasty stuff. Burns on contact. Turns skin a chalky white color even as it kills. You may have heard that aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid. Trust me, that "acetyl" makes a big difference. I've rubbed aspirin on various parts of my body for reasons that are none of your business, and it never had that distinct "Hello, my name is corrosive substance and I'll be your cell-destroying chemical agent this evening" sting to it. Salicylic acid, I'm told, is effective. It damn well ought to be. A


Aloe was the hemp of the late seventies. Pretty much everything from clinical depression to sudden high-velocity decapitation was expected to be cured by a simple squeeze of your home-grown aloe plant. It was also used in smoothies, moisturizers, and no doubt sexual lubricants. Aloe-mania never truly went away, and some people still treat warts by gently applying the cool, smooth juices of the aloe plant. I have to admit a preference for something violently medical. C-

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