Moorefield, WV– After fifty years of research, scientists at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College believe that they have finally discovered a possible side effect to smoking – lung cancer. Though the connection was made in the early 1950s by a number of other scientists, and has been consistently proven to be true by countless other scientists over the past half century, the researchers at this small town community college were not convinced.
“We don’t believe nothin’ anybody else tells us,” says Dr. Wilbert Clopes, the research team leader. “All those city folk think they can tell us whatever they like and we’re just gonna believe it. Like, the whole man on the moon business? Lord knows it ain’t possible to get no man on a moon. So we do our own research around these parts and it turns out that those city boys just might be right this time.”
Clopes began the study shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Studies in 1958. Though he had never received a degree that would indicate that he is indeed a doctor, Clopes honored himself with the title because, according to his mother, Melba Clopes, he’s “smart as a whip. My boy is just as smart as any of them doctors.” With limited funds, Clopes and his team, which consisted of family members and a pet bloodhound, set out to prove that the “city boys’ theory wasn’t nothin’ but a bunch of hogwash.”
He began by giving each family member a carton of cigarettes and extracting promises that each would smoke at least two packs of cigarettes a day for the duration of the study. It should be noted that Clopes himself decided not to partake in the experiment. “I wanted to be the whatchamacallit?” he asks. “The, um, gazebo?”
When a reporter sounded out with the word “placebo,” Clopes snapped his fingers. “That’s it!”
As the years passed, Clopes noticed that his relatives began to suffer from breathing difficulties. One by one, he drove them to the hospital and was shocked to discover that each of them was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“They was all diagnosed with it,” he says sadly. “Even my favourite dog, Mr. Bosephus. I told him not to smoke more than a pack a day because he was a small fellow, but Mr. Bosephus was as stubborn as all get out. So he was the first to get the lung disease. Then it was my cousin, Joe Bob. Then my sister, Edna Mae. And on and on. My, um, hypotenuse is this – wait…is it hypotenuse or hypothesis? Anyway, cigarettes cause lung cancer. There, I said it. ”
Satisfied with the findings, Clopes is now seeking funds for his next experiment. “Do watermelons really grow inside a person if the watermelon’s seeds are swallowed?” he asks rhetorically. “I intend to find out.”