Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Redneck Home Remedies...A True Story

I witnessed a conversation on Facebook today about the best home remedies for removing a wart from a young lad's foot. There were a lot of interesting suggestions. It was suggested that taping a banana peel over the wart, followed by changing the peel daily for two weeks would work. Nail polish and apple cider vinegar were popular suggestions. Or duct tape. It was even suggested to alternate a few of these treatments for two weeks along with pumice treatments in between. It all seemed like a lot of work to me.

So I suggested dehorning paste.

What is dehorning paste, you ask? It's a paste us ranchers use on calves to stop horns from growing. It basically burns the horn away. And why would I suggest such a thing for warts? Well, here's the story.

As a kid growing up on the Ranch in Central Saskatchewan, a lot of things were done differently. Of course we didn't know how different it was at the time. For instance, we didn't have a post office. Our neighbor, Norman, had some sort of contract to pick up everyone's mail in Debden. We would then all just pick up our mail at his place, stay a while and have a coffee, etc. And it was this same neighbor that taught me about dehorning paste for warts.

My dad and I went over to get the mail one morning. Norman came out to the mail boxes to meet us. He was wincing. He had just applied dehorning paste to a wart on his finger. The wart was gone, which is the main goal of wart removal, so obviously we embraced this concept immediately.

Now the first thing you need to know about using dehorning paste on warts is that it states clearly on the bottle to avoid any contact with skin. Ignore this. Following this rule could seriously hamper effective wart removal. The second thing you need to know is to only leave the paste on for 30 seconds to a minute. That part is easy, because it burns so bad that's about all you can last. And that's it. Two simple steps and your wart is gone forever - guaranteed.

But just like all technologies, something even better usually comes along.

In my late teens and early 20's, as our level of sophistication on the Ranch increased, we added Artificial Insemination to our cattle breeding program. This meant that we now owned our very own liquid nitrogen tank. I saw a doctor one time in Shellbrook and he was using liquid nitrogen directly from a tank that looked just like mine to remove warts. I said to him, "Hey, I could do that!" He said "I bet you could!"

All told, I'm guessing I removed warts off the hands and feet of at least a dozen of my farming neighbors. How it worked was a neighbor would approach me and very quietly say something like "I hear you can get rid of a wart." to which I would reply "Oh ya, no problem...let's go to the barn". A Q-Tip alone isn't long enough to get down into the tank to the liquid nitrogen, so I would tape the Q-Tip to a stick. A couple seconds in the nitrogen and then I would pull it up and apply it directly to the wart, count to 30 and done!

So, needless to say, I am skeptical when it comes to 2 week long home remedies for wart removal. First off, unlike the redneck methods I have described, these other remedies aren't even guaranteed to work. Plus you have to also spend the two weeks making sure the wart doesn't get picked at, leading to more warts.

The only downside you might attribute to our more 'veterinary' wart treatments is that they could leave a small physical scar. But when compared to the risks associated with asking a young boy to walk around with a banana duct taped to his foot for two weeks, while possibly wearing nail polish and getting pumiced...I say bring on the dehorning paste!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

You Can't Disguise Racism

Phrases like "I'm not racist, but..." are being thrown around a lot lately. And it's bugging me.

As Idle No More has gained momentum as a movement, like many others I have been taking in the various opinions and have developed some of my own. But, as people's emotions have started to run higher, there has also been a very sad revelation - one that I am having trouble coming to terms with as a Canadian in one of the most free and accepting places in the world. I am learning that racism is still very alive and well in my country and unfortunately, in my local community. The line between respectful disagreement and racism is pretty easy to identify. So why are so many people choosing to say or write things that clearly cross the line into racism these days?

Here's a hint to anyone who thinks it is possible in any way to disguise racism as respectful disagreement.

If a person feels they need to first qualify their comment or opinion with a phrase such as "I'm not racist, but...", guess what; it is probably a racist comment. And if the person says it anyway, that person is carrying out a racist action. The fact is that if a person truly is not racist, then that person would refrain from making a statement that could be interpreted as racism. It really is that simple.
Photo courtesy of Sturgeon River Plains Bison Stewards
Of course, this is only one example of how racism is being expressed in these discussions. My point is that racism should have no place in these discussions, because racism should have no place in our society. 

As we go through the next months or even years that it may take to repair the relationship between the Crown and First Nations, we will all need to pull in the same direction. The problems run deep and cannot be attributed to just one issue or just one group of people. We all share some blame and thus we all share the responsibility to make this relationship stronger and to get both parties on track in carrying out the treaties that were signed on behalf of all of us years ago.

And the simple action of each of us being respectful in what we do, say and write, including and especially when we don't agree with each other, will go a long way in making a very difficult job a lot easier.