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The pharmacist

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The well dressed man entered the chemist shop. He paused to scan the shelves packed with boxes and bottles. With a sigh, he made his way to the counter. 

"Good morning sir. How can I help you today?" said the pharmacist, dressed in his customary white lab coat, the white on black name tag proudly announcing his name as John. 

"Yes, good morning. I've left the doctors office where I was told I have the flu. When I asked the doctor what I should take he said 'there is nothing for it, anything I give you would be no better than a placebo', so hence I'm here to buy a placebo." 

"Err, you do realise a placebo is simply an ineffective product that you put your faith in?" 

"Absolutely, what do you have that has no benefit?" 

"But surely knowing that the product is not helping would invalidate the effect?" 

"Nonsense, I have complete faith in the placebo effect, so please point me to your most useless item." 

"Okay, umm... Well, these herbal remedies are unproven junk. A few roots and berries with no reason to believe they do anything at all. Very popular with people wanting a placebo." 

"Hmm, that's good but it feels like it still leaves the door open for some herb to actually be beneficial. Do you have anything that removes all doubt?" 

The pharmacist scratched his head, eyes sweeping the stacked shelves. "Ah, I have just the thing. Essential oils! These things smell nice, but people take the air freshener idea to believe it cures all sorts of things." 

"Any science or suggested method for it to work?" 

"The science says it doesn't work. The only suggestions I can remember were either reminding you of pleasant smells from the past, or perhaps some endorphin release." 

"Well, it still sounds like it has an effect and I was really hoping for something that does absolutely nothing." 

The pharmacist was at his wits end. How could he possibly find something so completely benign that it has zero effects? Any chemical, no matter how inert, would do something... Perhaps something non-chemical? Then inspiration hit him. 

"Have you tried prayer?" 

"No, what is it?" 

"Well, you talk to yourself, imagining some invisible and silent super being is listening and you ask that imaginary character to aid you." 

"Does it matter what name I use or what my imaginary character looks like?" 

"No, not at all. Its equally ineffective regardless of what super being you think of." 

"And absolutely no science or suggestions on how it could work?" 

"Quite the opposite. All research shows its useless and the only suggestion is pure placebo." 

"Perfect, I'll be feeling better in no time." 

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I don’t have enough posts to ❤️ this, but this is excellent. Thanks for sharing!

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Humorous and painfully accurate.

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