The dude who drank so much colloidal silver that his skin turned blue has just sneaked in under the wire to become my biggest in-box filler of the year (and of all time). Dozens — hundreds? — of e-mails have poured in with links to the YouTube video of this poor, deluded, future star of Broadway. So, okay, let’s chat for a second.
People, please stop drinking silver. Just put down your hot, steaming mugs of elemental deliciousness right now. I know, I know, it’s the holidays, and nothing could be better than a slice of pecan pie with a side of argentum swirl ice cream, but if you keep this up, you’re going to look like this guy:
Behold, a clear, physical representation of what pseudoscience can do — turn you into Papa Smurf.
Now, I know that seems like it could be a good result. After all, Papa Smurf had that hot little number Smurfette hanging around. But, before you go shopping for tiny red underpants, remember some of the other, less visible-on-national-television side effects of colloidal silver: seizures, nerve damage, kidney damage, indigestion, headaches, fatigue, skin irritation, coma, and maybe impotence. Uh, and penile atrophy. Smurfette? Smurfette, where did you go? Aw.
All these side effects might be worth it if colloidal silver did something — anything — positive for your health. However, this “nutritional supplement” (so labeled by the FDA to prevent dishonest sellers from claiming that the stuff cures any kind of malady) does nothing more than make you the laughing stock of your town. So, why do people take it? Simple: it’s yet another “all-natural” cure developed by our Dark Age ancestors. That’s an easy sale when it comes to people with a slight mistrust of latter day science and medicine.
Living in a world with so much life-saving medicine to offer, people don’t seem to understand that in the “good old days” 300 years ago, humans didn’t know jack. It was the “childhood of our species,” as Chris Hitchens once wrote. In 2007, 12-year old children probably know more about medicine than the average physician of the Middle Ages. So why keep using a “treatment” that didn’t even work back then? Simply put, it’s easy to remember your childhood fondly while conveniently forgetting what a stupid little kid you were. Colloidal silver and it’s ilk are the grown-up versions of sticking crayons up your nose to treat cooties. Hey, it worked back then, right?