Surefire cure for toothache

From Barcelona’s Green Book:

In the year of Our Lord 1839 a surgeon of the town of Sancti Spiritus in the province of Badajoz made it known to the Provincial Deputation of Seville that he had discovered a surefire remedy for toothache, which consisted of biting on the neck of a guitar while someone else played a contra dance on it. This cure was cheap, ingenious, simple and entertaining and had but one disadvantage: it didn’t work. Many have been those who, like the surgeon of Sancti Spiritus, without being surgeons, said that toothache was to be cured without fail by such or such means, and simultaneously we have seen the number of dentists grow, with the consequence that it appears that the remedies have but augmented the evil. Disillusioned by such specifics [ie medicines], men have reverted to the old saying: “If your tooth hurts, have it pulled out.” Far be it from us to deny the virtues of plants and minerals; but we believe that for now no remedy has been found for head- or toothaches. Piety acclaims as intercessor to relieve us of the latter St Apollonia, whose feast the church celebrates today. We recommend devotion to the saint; however, if, as a result of our sins, we do not deserve her intercession in relief of our toothache, truly an atrocious torment, then it seems to us safest to seek the help of Messrs Centena, Barbier-Bergeron, Appignani, Bruguera or one of their brotherhood in order to apply the ancient medicine: “If your tooth hurts, have it pulled out.”

It is worth noting that it seems to have been substantially the fault of foreigners that Barcelona was historically such a toothless power.

(It is interesting to note, recalling the Stalinist use of internal exile against troublesome priests, that Sancti Spiritus falls (where you sit is where you stand) in the administrative district of Siberia. I wonder whether, also, it has a Lepe-type function, being a place where people spend all day committing absurd acts.)

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