MISBEGOTTEN PLACES #14
The Quidiron Wars
The future will not be kind to Quidiron when it’s history is written, for it created havoc in the lives of the people it was meant to help. The powdery substance, developed by an obscure company called Quidiron Pro Quo (NASDAQ: QPQ), was made from an ionized, crystallized, pulverized and pasteurized mixture of alfalfa honey, duck egg albumen and a rare fungus.
According to the company’s press release:
“Quidiron has been clinically proven to reverse the human aging process by a factor of at least twenty years. By orally ingesting the powder dissolved in a 1:1 mixture of schnapps and fermented carrot juice, everyone can now literally look and feel decades younger than their years!”
Quidiron became an instant success in the Personal Care market. Television and magazine ads featured Before-And-After photos of aging Hollywood celebrities who all looked much younger now. Katherine Smith, Caleb O’Connor, Kim Stevenson and Jason Parker - these eighty year old stars of screen and television all happily appeared in the ads as young, more attractive versions of their older selves.
The world became absolutely giddy with the promise of a new youthful appearance. Octogenarians who took the Quidiron mixture soon became a young fifty. Middle age folks looked a spry twenty-five. Newspaper articles referred to this as “the dream of Ponce de Leon finally realized”.
Production of Quidiron went into high gear. Vast quantities were stored in guarded warehouses. Shops were finding it difficult to keep their shelves stocked to meet the demand, as people lined up by the thousands to purchase their ticket to everlasting youth. The neighbor you knew as frail and elderly one day appeared youthful and exuberant the next. Some parents became younger than their grown children! Euphoria spread throughout the land.
Eventually, as could be expected, a significant backlash to Quidiron emerged among people who either didn’t trust the product or who followed the incorrect advice of certain political groups. The very eccentric political activist Eduardo Weidenbaum founded the opposition group QUIT: “Quidiron Ultimately Is Trash”. (You will remember Weidenbaum from having once organized the People’s March to Ban Coca-Cola, and for staging that unfortunate sit-in at Robots-“Я”-Us that sadly ended in disaster). QUIT’s members (known as ‘Quitters’) held protest rallies around the world that sparked several counter-demonstrations by even larger numbers of enraged ‘Quiddies’ (the name adopted by the Quidiron users).
In support of Quidiron, the de facto spokesperson for the Quiddies was the celebrity gladiator Antero Varelius, the former child actor known for starring in such TV commercials as Ronko Accu-Rite Replacement Yo Yo Strings (“There ain’t no strings like Ronko strings! Ain’t that right, Fido?”) and Uncle Bart’s Sausage Flavored Bubble Gum (“It’s a whole world of flavor in a tiny stick of gum! Ain’t that right, Fido?”). And who could forget the clever and heart warming commercial for Bastard Beer (“When I grow up, I’m gonna drink a case of Bastard Beer every day, just like Mama! Ain’t that right, Fido?”). His career abruptly ended when Fido became overly enamoured of a female dog on Cap’n Weasel’s children’s TV show.
Thus the Quitters and the Quiddies waged a public relations war promoting their sides. Sales of Quidiron skyrocketed as more and more people of a ‘certain age’ took advantage of the ability to actually become twenty years younger. Not wanting to be the only old people left on earth, even many die-hard Quitters began taking Quidiron mixed with schnapps and fermented carrot juice.
And a month into this absurd Quidiron phenomena, Varelius was able to proclaim the Quidders’ victory over the renegade Quitters, and also his personal victory over Weidenbaum.
(It should be noted here that Varelius and Weidenbaum knew each other from their days at Quagmire Academy outside of Duluth, where they were students and friends. That is, until each one accused the other of stealing Dean Miska’s ostentatious cape and beret and running them up the flagpole while on fire. They both were asked to leave the academy.)
With Quidiron firmly entrenched as a staple of society, and as many more people became incredibly younger in look, feel and attitude, Weidenbaum and the few remaining Quitters accepted defeat at the hand of Varelius and the Quiddies.
But not for long!
Eduardo Weidenbaum had a plan: One night, as the world was celebrating the defeat of QUIT and happy with their own new found youth, he and a handful of loyal Quitters silently broke into the Quidiron Pro Quo warehouse, and they secretly switched the two dosage strengths of Quidiron. The packages labeled “original strength” now contained the “super-duper strength”. His hope was that people would experience unwanted side effects and abandon the substance once and for all. If his plan worked, Weidenbaum would claim his role as victor and savior of the “old order”.
It was a cruel and unkind trick to play on the unsuspecting Quiddies, but Weidenbaum ignored the potential harm that would befall those who unknowingly overdosed on Quidiron.
It turned out that this super-duper dose was far more potent than he had realized. For after only a few days, people in their 70s and 80s unexpectedly began looking like pre-teens. Even more alarming, 30 and 40 year olds were transformed into what became known as “Quiddy Tots” - the average apparent age was around 4 or 5.
And Antero Varelius, the celebrity gladiator, former child actor, de facto leader of the Quiddies and lifelong foe of Eduardo Weidenbaum - he was put up for adoption along with several other “Quiddy Babies”.
Yes, the Quitters had won. The production of Quidiron was halted, and the company soon went out of business. But QUIT’s victory came at a price. The hopes and dreams of an aging populace were dashed to bits. Having experienced a joyful second chance at youth, but then seeing that youth slip away, Quiddies lamented that they had begun to age once again at an accelerated pace. Within a month or two, everyone who had previously been transformed into their younger self had been transformed back to the age they had been prior to Quidiron.
Indeed, it was a sad world that was forced to come to terms with how things are meant to be - not how we wish they were. It was truly a moral for the ‘ages’.