You mean you used the whole thing?

I’ve had two experiences with chiropractors, enough to make me very leery of the profession. I won’t detail all my leeriness here, except to point out that it doesn’t all relate to the validity or lack thereof of the discipline itself. One of mine was making fairly outlandish claims, the other was actively milking me and ripping off the insurance company, and the collective experience caused me to shy away. But if it works for you, or has worked for you, then wonderful.

One of those experiences led to me making a fool of myself in a most amusing way, and as we all know, that is meat and drink on the ‘Lancer.

My first chiropractor was a very libertarian/LDS fellow, and somewhat of a True Believer when it came to his field. My second was also LDS, a Chinese immigrant with a heavy accent. No big deal to me, but helps paint the picture. In that situation, I had given chiropractic a second try due to some nagging back issues. At one point, we had the following conversation:

“I also want you to take hot baths with some vinegar in them.”

“Hmm. Okay. How much do I use?”

“Just go get a two-gallon bottle of apple cider vinegar.”

“All right, I guess. Why does this help my back?”

“To be honest, I don’t know why, but it does.”

“Well, I’ll give it a try.”

So I did. I bought a two-gallon bottle, ran a hot bath, and dumped in the contents. Pretty overpowering when mixed with the hot water. I don’t think most people could have dealt with it. I soaked in it as long as I thought worthwhile, then stood up and showered off the remaining vinegar water. About that time, my wife came past the bathroom.

“What the hell have you done in there?”

“The chiropractor said it would help.”

“I’m having my doubts about this chiropractor. But I’m also having doubts about your common sense. It stinks big time in there! I’m turning on the fan!”

I gave my standard reply to most forms of expressed environmental discomfort, from feedlots to cold weather: “Aaaaaah, it’s not so bad.”

“You’re a freak.”

Well, after about three of these treatments, I could see how the cost of this could add up. My back wasn’t improving, and this was an unenjoyable way to bathe. On my next chiropractic visit, I expressed doubts.

“You may not notice a difference right away.”

“Well, I am noticing a couple of differences. For one, the smell is overpowering and not very pleasant. For another, I’m not sure how long I can afford putting two gallons of this stuff in the bathtub.”

He looked at me with incredulity. “You mean you used the whole thing?” This guy was generally the picture of composure and calm, but I could see the shock on his face.

“You told me to. You said go out and get a two-gallon bottle of it.”

He held back laughter with great self-control. “I only meant for you to use about a cup of it!”

“Oh.”

After I left, I’m confident I ended up as one of the funny stories he tells when he gets together with other chiropractors for herbal tea and recommendations on how to push endless supplements on customers. But for the record, if your chiropractor suggests you put vinegar in your bath water, do take time to ask him or her how much exactly to use per bath.

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