Hamsters, Jet Lag, and Viagra

I’m sitting here at the airport with nothing to do, so naturally my thoughts have turned to hamsters, and what happens when they travel.

This is a re-post of an oldie-but-goodie, one of my favorite posts from my old blog, Waldorf to Your Astoria. The original link is here. I’ll cut and paste below, too. Enjoy!

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I couldn’t sleep the other night, so I was on the internet doing some aimless searching when I came across a troubling story. According to US News and World Report, hamsters get dumber when they get jet lag.”Dumber than what?” was my first question. Not to put down my avid-reading hamster audience, but I’ve never been one who thought that hamsters were a particularly bright bunch. Find a facebook page where someone has posted an article from the Onion, thinking the satire is real, and it’s almost always a hamster.

Anyhow, I read further. It seems the UC-Berkeley researchers, emboldened by the fact that we have no real medical problems now that AIDS and cancer have been eradicated, subjected the hamsters to jet lag by advancing their day and night schedule by six hours, every three days, for a month.

I suppose this was cheaper than booking flights to Paris, but it raises a few serious questions:

1) What day and night schedule?

2) Are these hamsters on a rigorous work schedule of wheel running and wood gnawing?

3) Can a hamster just call in if they’re seriously lagged?

4) How much do they get paid?

5) Are the benefits good?

Anyhow, when the researchers behave in this cruel and unusual manner, the hamsters begin to behave as though they are — you guessed it — disoriented. Their ability to learn and remember were impacted.

Well this all just floored me. You mean if you fuck with a hamsters’ natural environment and their instinctive expectations, there are consequences? This will make me think twice, the next time I smuggle hamsters in my luggage for a world tour. I’d hate to think they wouldn’t be able to find their wheel when it was time to go a-runnin’.

I googled the subject further, and found another shocking and fascinating fact: apparently, hamsters suffering from jet lag can be soothed with a little Viagra.

Yes! The little blue pill finally has a purpose!

A small dose of Viagra helped reduce the reaction to a simulated six-hour time change in hamsters. Which means that Viagra is doubly effective for sex-tourist hamsters with erectile dysfunction, visiting Bangkok.

Still, this raises questions for me:

1) Was Viagra the first pill they tried? Did they also try Paxil, Lipitor, Allopurinol?

2) Who had the idea to give a hamster Viagra? Fill in the Richard Gere joke here.

3) Do the hamsters report side effects such as headaches and blue vision after taking Viagra?

4) Who should the hamster call if they have a four-hour erection?

5) Why are these hamsters traveling so much? Shouldn’t they travel less, if the traveling is so jarring to them?

So the next time you see a hamster with that telltale bulge, please be kind. He’s probably just gotten off a plane. It might be a little jarring to see these randy rodents, but at least we won’t lose so many hamster-hours to jet lag. Those wheels don’t turn themselves, after all!

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