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Start With These Pests

March 10, 2004

A special panel of the prestigious National Research Council decided late last month that human test volunteers could be intentionally exposed to doses of potentially lethal pesticides and other toxic substances as long as testing companies or government agencies met high ethical and scientific standards. Precisely who in their right minds will offer their unique bodies for such experiments is as yet understandably undetermined. The lines of pesticide-test wannabes willing to be sprayed like malignant farm-field mold spores seem noticeably shorter than lines of those seeking "American Idol" auditions.

Such human experiments with chemicals built to kill insects could be important in setting the acceptable level of soil and air saturation before nearby residents begin looking and acting strange. Since the Environmental Protection Agency is not yet swamped by applicants, highly ethical citizens may wish to volunteer some unwilling subjects. The potential pest candidates might include:

The guy in the antacid ads who keeps downing chili dogs despite wifely warnings and repetitious near-death experiences.

Any multimillionaire athlete who ever talks on-camera again about giving 110% for the team, and the next bench-riding player, regardless of ridiculous salary, who holds up one finger to the camera and says, "Hi, Mom" without also saying, "and Dad."

The entire creative team that decided thousands of delirious consumers would plunk down $38,000 to buy a car that skids sideways on wave-soaked beaches. As graceful as it may seem in slo-mo, few drivers not being pursued by police opt to lose control of a 2-ton vehicle.

Any unknown telephone solicitor who ever again calls during dinner and addresses the chewing homeowner by first name.

All future overweight Oscar recipients who don a tie, then pull it down on-camera.

The inventor of satin throw pillows and her friends who go on about wine 15 minutes after ordering some.

Also, all gazillionaire country singers who continue performing in beat-up hats and torn jeans. Nashville has no Wal-Mart?

Anyone involved in any activity remotely connected to professional wrestling and boxing and/or their promotion, and anyone appearing on CNN's verbal food fight, "Crossfire."

Spectator parents who yell at referees.

Television interviewers named Charlie who persistently interrupt well-spoken guests to inject their own obvious observations and forced clarifications.

Political candidates unable to tell a joke on themselves and genuinely laugh along. Also editorial writers who don't do the same.

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