Written by Ilona Ronay
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Topics: Scientists, New York

Saturday, 26 March 2005

image for The Single Substance Most Useful in A Given Situation Now Identified
Mystery Substance Works In Here, There, and Everywhere

New York, New York--For many years, scientists have been seeking the one universal substance that would be most useful in a variety of everyday as well as critical situations. Now, a team of researchers at several prominent New York city-area hospitals believe that they have finally identified this miracle substance.

"It is inexpensive, it is readily available, it color-coordinates well with almost everything, it is lightweight, and it does not require heating or cooling during storage," explained one researcher.

Said another researcher: "It lasts for years in an inert phase. Here are some of the myriad things this substance can be used for--it can be used as a facial scrub when you run out of your usual high-priced facial scrub. It can be thrown under the wheels of your car if you run out of kitty litter or are stupid enough not to drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV that shows you are a patriotic American.

It can be eaten as is, with or without milk, or used in recipes. It goes well with dry white wines and sweet red wines. It has proved useful for stuffing surgical wounds when sponges and other medical paraphenalia were unavailable or inaccesible.

It can be thrown into the eyes of would-be robbers and other criminals to stall them temporarily while you make your escape. It can be used for crowd control by law-enforcement agencies. Tom Ridge could find a place for it in his color-coded scheme. And, if you eat enough of it, you will most likely get your own car on the subway, not just your own seat.

It could also be used as currency, although transactions would be rather slow. However, it is good for manual dexterity and promotes patience."

Reporters thronged the news conference in near-hysteria as they waited to see the mystery substance identified and unveiled. "A new drug from ImClone?" asked one. "Something Martha Steward developed from her DNA in prison?" said another. "If George Bush is injected with it, will it get him to shut up about this totally bogus manufactured crisis concerning Social Security?" asked a third. At that possibility, there was a great sigh of anticipation and a moment of silence.

"Rumor has it that the research team spent 40 years looking for a universally useful substance," said one young reporter, in awe. "I haven't even been alive that long!"

Then, the research team's lead physician walked to the podium carrying a small package under wraps. She removed the paper, plastic, cloth, and barbed wire covering the substance and held it high over her head triumphatnly as she swung it around the room.

"Post Grape-Nuts, ladies and gentlemen," she announced. "Available locally and globally. It works for everything."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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