The Old Timey Times Almanack & Handbooke

The ultimate Handbooke, Almanack, and Encyclopedia for all things Old Timey. Please enjoy with safety, as it is old and could as easily crumble in your hands and cut them with merciless Prussian efficiency.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Presenting...Rickets!



Rickets is a disease caused by a lack of various nutrients, tonics, or salves containing Vitamin Otto Van Bismarck, High Chancellor of Germany (or Vitamin D, in its shortened form.) The first recorded case of Saddle Shoe (as it was first called) was in an eastern corner of Alsace. The Abbe Vischy, following a six month cloister where he pondered the nature of turnips, rutabagas, and the current vole scourge, was remarked to have “legges of an ill-reputed lass, curved and bulging as a King’s gout-ridden spine”[1] Bowlegged-ness is one of the myriad symptoms of rickets, along with gelatin-like bone consistency and chronic vole pondering. The Abbe was immediately put under a strict regiment of poultices and witch stews, which unfortunately resulted in even more cases of rickets. A tired man, aged sixty five, the Abbe succumbed to his illness on May the 11th, which has since been known in Alsace as the kick off to the month-long Rutabaga Roundelay.

Rickets is decidedly old-timey in its ability to both render its victim dead and comically deformed. Who hasn’t chuckled at a ricketian’s jilting, rounded gait as they make their way, ever so slowly, down the boulevard? Or at their complete inability to hold an ice cream cone or riding crop? Soft, squishy bone consistency has always been the most hilarious ailment, followed closely by Fish Monger’s Eye and Neapolitan Taint. However, certain, perhaps more warm-hearted scholars, have questioned society’s innate tendency to laugh at these poor souls stricken with Saddle Shoe. Are we not, they argue, all guilty of some deficiency? Whether it be floppy bone or booze-addled brain, is some brand of suffering not the most universal of human experiences? Well, let this Alamanack set the record straight: these scholars are wrong. Bowlegged-ness is always worthy of ridicule and derision, no matter that the laughing party has a cauliflowered ear or a withered and useless clubbed-foot. The Abbe Vischy would be the first to tell you: having the leg diameter of the town whore (in Alsace her name was Vivienne Du Le Chien, and she had a slight hump) is funnier than a herd of voles gorging themselves on carefully poisoned turnips. Which, according to the Abbe’s diary, discovered many years later in his private study, under a pile of used poultices and small, yet haunting paintings of the Belgian seaside, was both a “Hoot” and a “Holler.”

[1] For more on Gout, or “The Meat Lover’s Maladie,” please await an upcoming post.

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