Why Is This Popular? Hollering Medicine

by Steve Mullaney

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, I HOPE THAT MY HOLLERING ISN’T BOTHERING YOU! Thus begins a twelve-minute discourse about how a supposed eucalyptus cream will cure everything from bone cancer to acne and help you get laid all at the same time. Once the fanny-pack laden seller finishes screaming, invariably there will be a dozen people who pay between Q5-10 for a small tub of cream which may or may not contain actual medicine. In a country where Q10 could represent up to a half-day’s wages the question is raised: why on earth is this a thriving industry? An extensive WITP investigation has revealed the following:

1) This is actually a theater presentation. Hollywood has given us Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek 3 and so forth. Guallywood (that’s Guatemala + Hollywood. We’d really like to coin a new expression—tell your friends!) has given us Eucalyptus Cream, Eucalyptus Cream 2, and all the way up to Eucalyptus Cream 349. People aren’t actually buying, they’re giving donations to preserve a special art form. Pitch in a few Q so that you too can support the arts in Guatemala.

2) Building a house out of medicine tubs. Due to recent price increases in the cost of cement, it is now cheaper to build your house out of old medicine tubs than block. The purchase is actually a heartwarming testament to planning ahead. Also, your house totally smells like eucalyptus which is a bonus. Now all you have to do is buy enough spackle to cobble your little plastic tubs together.

3) That way you won’t get stabbed (Guatemala City only). In Guate, after yelling that you are trying not to disturb anyone it is customary to announce that you used to be a gang member that stabbed people and then leer menacingly at the passengers. Like having your intestines intact? Then fork over Q10 and play along, bub. Sadly, this is also the most successful public safety initiative within the capital.

4) Bored. Those bus rides are soooooo long. You might as well try your best to liven it up with something, anything. Why not try to bring a little bit of entertainment to your life by buying a tub of cream? To make it more interesting you could try and pay with a Q100 bill and really watch the sparks fly.

In all seriousness we totally buy at least five tubs of cream on every single bus ride and you should too—not just because XelaWho is bankrolling the entire eucalyptus operation, but because otherwise we’ll stab you.

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