South Africans: Trust Me, Don't Smoke Vulture Brains

cape vulture

This is pretty embarrassing, but one night, when I was a freshman in college, my friend Todd and I got so high from smoking pot that we thought we could read each other’s minds. We were in my room doing too many bong hits and one of us (I’ll take responsibility, though I don’t remember for sure) had the brilliant idea of, “What would happen if we drank the bongwater?” I know: yuck: we might as well have eaten used cigarette butts. But this is the state we’d put ourselves in. So we drank the bongwater.

We had just recently met (this was shortly before I ruined a bunch of very stupid t-shirts Todd had printed up) and we were becoming friends. And I guess being stoned enough to think that we might be entering some new chemical dimension from drinking pot-infused water, combined with the experience of finding a like-minded person who lived on the same floor of what up to that point had felt, at least to me, like a dorm filled with strange people to whom I couldn’t so much relate, well, we thought we had discovered some kind of magic. We had my roommate Jeremy, who didn’t smoke pot and was observing our idiotic behavior with a sort of anthropological fascination, administer a test with index cards: we were to close our eyes and think of geometric shapes and draw whatever images came to us. We were sure we’d end up with the same shapes on the cards. We were sure we’d made an important scientific discovery.

It didn’t work, of course. We did like ten rounds of it: nothing. Oh, well. We went on to have a long conversation about how Steely Dan was the best music to shave to. Because their sound was so synesthetically smooth. (This theory, by the way, has been scientifically validated.) Jeremy was very nice about it all.

I tell this embarrassing story in the hopes that anyone in South Africa who might be considering smoking the dried up brains of endangered vultures in order to better predict the outcome of the Wold Cup for gambling purposes WILL NOT DO SO. From Scientific American:

The custom stems from the traditional medicine known in South Africa as muti. The vulture brains are dried, ground up and then smoked in cigarettes which supposedly give the users visions of the future. In addition to dreams of winning lotto numbers or sports teams, practitioners say the practice can give users an edge on taking tests or help their business attract more clients. A tiny vial of vulture brains sells for around $6.50, according to an article from AFP.

Now, I guess there’s no way I can be one hundred percent sure that smoking dried up vulture brains doesn’t give you clairvoyance. But, you know, it’s definitely as disgusting as drinking bong water. My guess is that it’s not actually going to help anyone win any money. And that whoever does it might come to regret it later. And most importantly: leave those poor bird brains in their bird heads, where they belong!