a is for alphitomancy


lots of our patients complain about indigestion though nursemyra often eats the gimcrack’s food and suffers no ill effects. perhaps that’s because I avoid prawn vol au vents, pickled tongue, fricassed tripe and a few other suspect dishes. there are three choices at every meal so there’s a good chance of selecting something reasonably tasty nontoxic, especially if you go for the vegetarian option.

a conducive dining experience plays a part in how well a meal is digested. modern mechanix hypothises that noise may be responsible for indigestion and if this is true, they may have stumbled upon the cause of so much discontent in the gimcrack’s dining room.


“din, uproar and racket had a marked ill effect”

well lord knows there’s plenty of racket at the gimcrack. farting, burping, slurping, spitting, hoiking, gargling – and that’s just the waiters. you wouldn’t want to know about the sounds the patients make. so it’s little wonder that indigestion is a problem.

luckily we have access to pharmaceutical aids which alleviate the symptoms because a popular item on the menu is barley and vegetable soup. 

Alphitomancy is derived from the Greek alphitomantis (‘divination using barley’), this is an ancient method of determining the guilt or innocence of a suspect person by feeding him or her a specially prepared wheat or barley loaf or cake. If the person suffers from indigestion this is interpreted as a sign of guilt.

if this method were in use today there would be appear to be a lot guilty people at the gimcrack. just as well we’re stocked up with pepto-bismal


Published in: on February 17, 2008 at 7:59 am  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “and that’s just the waiters”


  2. the din of bodily sounds that besiege diners in the gimcrack’s cafeteria have to be accompanied by various unsavory aromas, which must also have a “marked ill effect” on digestion.

    such vivid pictures you paint!

    thank you for this morning’s cup of smile.


  3. very interesting …. avoid the barley, I just been reading up on it ‘It was used to test the faithfulness of a mistress, a husband, or a wife.’

    (psst NM… if you click Alphitomancy you get Graphology)

    thanks 70s, I’ve amended the link.

  4. I’m not reading your blog during breakfast anymore *urp*

  5. You have given me a terrible case of grin-digestion – the affliction caused by laughing whilst eating.

    Now I have fried pig all over my moustache.

  6. I’m going to memorize this N.M and when I go to business receptions I’m going to repeat it.

    Wish you could be there…it’s going to be a blast 😉


  7. Well, now I know to stop eating my meals while attending punk rock shows.

  8. Would you like extra sneeze on that burger? Free of charge!

  9. There’s nothing like a good fart to relieve bowel tension.

  10. I’d leave a comment but I need to fart – – –

  11. It pains me to see science head away from where it was when that article was published…

  12. alex, I too feel the pain…..

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