Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Grandiouse Theories - Bloodbanks


It's that time again and around my city the call has gone out.
We need blood!" they cry and "Give blood today!”
When that doesn't work they switch to more pleading tones “Have you got blood? Because we need it" or even
"Just give us the red stuff and you will be instrumental in saving lives”
Before finally falling back on that old favorite, the guilt trip.
Remember that the life you save might well be your own." [1]

As you might already have guessed from the rather brief title the blood drive was in town the other day and made certain to advertise their presence [2]. So it was with a song in my heart, a smile on my face and a quiet appreciation of the biblical irony of the whole thing that I went along to the local church to give my own pint of Bordeaux.

I managed to ace the written test and they already had my details on file which meant that I got preferred customer status so the waiting time was very short but while they attempted to broach my cask I began to think [3] about how we could get more people through the doors and into those oh so comfortable chairs so that more blood could be drawn and quotas could be met across the board.

  • Notion One: Needle me not!
    I know it sounds extreme but lets face it. The main reason people don't like donating blood is that we have to submit to a sharp pointy thing entering the body and since we've had millions of years of practice in avoiding sharp pointy things entering the body it's pretty easy to see where all this anxiety is coming from.

    Isn't it wonderful then to find that, once again, nature provides and in this case we turn to our friend the leech. Leeches have several advantages over needles as they employ a natural anesthetic and since a great deal of leeches will be required to withdraw the correct amount of blood they can be arranged in a pleasing pattern which will fade naturally over the course of a few days.

    As I am not a medical person I must confess my ignorance when it comes to getting the blood out of the leeches but presumably it will require some sort of giant blender or the hiring of specially trained leech wranglers.

    Who wants it most?This will, I feel, particularly appeal to those who are into body modification or have been sitting on the fence regarding their first tattoos.
  • Notion Two: “I do not drink, wine”
    Talk to anyone in marketing and they'll tell you that vampires are hot right now and if you can link your product with them then you've got a guaranteed success, no matter how tenuous the link.

    To date the blood bank people uniformly use the traditional one pronged needle which has been specially blunted by the ancient order or professional needle blunters
    [4]. Under my scheme however they would adopt a freshly designed double pronged needle then not only would the red stuff flow more freely but the resulting marks would make it look as though the donors had managed to survive a vampire attack [5] and, with the application of a little imagination they can spin such a story as to elicit cries of alarm and admiration by others who do nothing but stand around the water cooler and brag about how high their golf scores have been lately.

    As an aside it's worth mentioning that if your story has both a vampire and blood in it then it's already got two things that Twilight was sadly lacking

    Who wants it most?
    Vampire fans and a diverse assortment of creatures of the night. If the blood drives set up shop in certain nightclubs then they'll ensure a steady stream of customers.
  • Notion Three: Our friends the animals.
    As I see it the main problem is one of quantity over quality and we puny humans can only give a pint or two before suffering such ill effects as a slight sluggishness, a drop in iron count or, in extreme cases, death
    Thus we are forced, forced I say, to turn to the animal kingdom and I turn your attention to your local zoological parks. Because unless you're unlucky enough to have the urban variety then your local zoo is the only place where you'll find our monochrome friend, the noble pachyderms.

    Yes, the elephant. They're masters at standing around, eating everything that isn't nailed down
    [8] and giving nothing back to society. In short they are parasites and a major drain on our economy yet under my plan we could substitute a large amount of human blood for elephant blood that will easily fill the various quotas of the blood banks and, if my Spiderman comics are to believed, means that there is a good chance of at least one person developing elephant themed super powers.
    "Results may vary"
    Who wants it most?Animal rights activists who are tired of having no comeback to the whole “animals contribute nothing to society” argument.
  • Notion Four: Our other friends, the vegetables.It's a well known fact that you can't get blood from a stone [9] but perhaps we should turn our attention to squashier alternatives. I have no doubt that it will require a great deal of crossbreeding and some rather questionable tampering with genetic building blocks [10] but eventually we will be rewarded with the juices of blood oranges, blood melons and perhaps even blood bananas which will easily provide those at the blood banks with ample supplies of a blood type that is healthy, packed full of nourishing vitamins and the occasional bit of pulp [11].
    Of course all this means that the needles will need to be replaced by juicing machines and if some enterprising fellow were to bring an ice crusher along then he could set up a frozen juice stand outside and have a rather thriving business.

    Who wants it most?
    Vegetarians, vegans and those who, having given up on the notion of receiving elephant powers, now live in the hope that they will at least develop super plant powers.
    Exactly how you use these powers is up to you but there's a better than average chance of meeting Batman.
  • Notion Five: Money. Cash. Moolah. The Folding Green. Lettuce. Cabbage. Bread. The Clinking Silver. Doubloons. Pieces of Eight. Groats. Shillings. Ounces and Pounds [12]Now I'm not about to suggest that donors get paid cash in hand because this will only push up the operating costs for the blood banks but rather I offer the suggestion that for each pint donated that individual gets a hundred dollars in local currency taken off their student loan or if they don't have one of those then it gets applied to their end of year tax bill where it is first used for payment of any debts and the remainder is paid into a superannuation fund that may not be touched until retirement age is reached.

    Of course a hundred dollars in local currency doesn't sound like much I'll admit but will also pause to point out that if you were to give blood ten times in the next year then you'd have a thousand dollars for you to enjoy in your twilight years

    Who wants it most?
    Me! Also anyone else with a student loan that is best described as ominous.

So what happened with my blood?
It's a tragic story of sadness dear reader for while I was sitting in that funny deckchair like a happy boy sitter they searched in vain for my vein but, owing to the fact that said veins are buried deep it was too difficult for them to strike claret and they were defeated by my own arms [14].

At least that's what they keep on telling me. Personally I think that those nurses are just fans of watching me jump every time they unwrap another of those damned knitting needles [15].

  1. A curious turn of phrase that would not be out of place in any well organized protection racket.
  2. Their ads in other languages were, by and large, lost on me due to my woeful lack of skill in the linguistics department. Except, it should be noted, for Klingon because I'm a huge nerd and Elvish because I'm a New Zealander and ever since the Lord of the rings films were released we've all been forced to become fluent in Sindarin - Thanks Uncle Peter.
  3. A dangerous occupation at the best of times and certainly not recommended for amateurs.
  4. A remnant of a bygone era who survive only because of the power of their union.
  5. Exactly how savage this 'attack' appeared to be would depend on how well trained the nurse is.
  6. What's that? You thought I'd let an opportunity to mock Twilight go by? Oh how little you know me
  7. To be fair this happens but rarely.
  8. and especially peanuts for reasons that mankind has yet to divine.
  9. But if we could then this whole article would be more or less redundant.
  10. Punctuated by cries of “It's alive! Alive!” and the appearance of at least one attack of killer tomatoes. but only because I'm a slave to tradition.
  11. Apparently some people enjoy the homestyle kind. They will be the first against the wall come the revolution.
  12. But please, let me know if I'm being too subtle.
  13. Which would be the first time in a long time that anyone has enjoyed anything to do with Twilight. Boom boom!
  14. A fact, incidentally, that I'm considering putting on my resume.
  15. I had a very close view of them and assure you that I'm not exaggerating in the slightest.

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