I walked into my pal Lenny’s kitchen the other day and found him doing something that looked kind of weird. He had a pot of water boiling on the stove and was holding a spoon in the water. Then, as I watched, he pulled the spoon from the water and pressed it against his arm. “Ouch! Ow! Ow!” The guy was covered in blisters, so apparently he had been doing it awhile.
“Lenny? What the fuck are you doing, man?”
“Go away Mike,” said Lenny. “I have a headache.” He pulled the spoon away from his arm, revealing a fresh scald mark.
“Lenny?” I pressed.
“So yeah,” said Lenny, “I was out in the backyard earlier and got a bunch of mosquito bites. I’m treating them now.” Lenny held the spoon again in the pot of boiling water.
“Treating them? By like … incinerating your flesh?”
“It’s a lifehack,” said Lenny. “I saw a post about it on Facebook this morning. So uh, what happens is, the protein in the mosquito bite gets destroyed by the hot spoon.”
“And … is it working?” I asked.
“Ow!” said Lenny. “I can’t tell yet Mike, but when the pain from the burns goes away, I probably won’t feel the itching anymore. It’s a lifehack, Mike.”
“Shows what you know, Mike,” said Lenny as he pulled the spoon back out of the boiling water and pressed it against a fresh bit of skin. “I researched it! Ouch! You don’t have to break any peptide bonds: The proteins start to denature above sixty degrees Celsius. It’s a lifehack, bitch! It’s science!”
“Uh huh,” I said. “That’s like 140 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s pretty fucking hot. So you say the proteins begin to denature at that temperature? How long do you have to maintain that temperature for maybe fifty percent of the protein to denature? An hour? Two hours?”
“I don’t know, Mike. I didn’t read that far. Ow! I told you I have a headache anyway. I’m going to go lay down when I’m done here.”
“You know Lenny,” I said, “just because it’s on Facebook and is called a ‘lifehack’ doesn’t mean it’s not bullshit.”
“It’s science, Mike!”
“Yeah huh,” I said. “Well listen … I’m going to go away now and leave you to incinerate your arms in peace. Hope your headache goes away.”
“Thanks Mike,” said Lenny. “Talk to you later. Ouch!”
“Say listen,” I said as I headed out the door, “I read on Facebook the other day that if you stick a hot poker up your ass it will cure a headache. It’s a lifehack.”
— R. S. Huber