Collagen, Helium, and Butt Boozin'

Hey, Matthew:

Before I have collagen injections in my lips, I have to know where they get the collagen. Is it human? Does it come from some animal?

— Lip Sink, via email

Cow lips. You’ll have big flappy cow lips. In many cases, the collagen injected into people for either cosmetic or therapeutic reasons comes from cows. Not from the happy California cows you see on TV. Probably from a special herd raised by the company that extracts the collagen molecules and makes them suitable for making your lips puffy and liplicious.

Collagen is stuff that makes skin, tendons, ligaments, and lots of other body parts strong and flexible. That goes for humans and other animals. As we age, our normally tough, fibrous collagen sort of poops out. But since the 1970s, doctors have been able to replace it through injections. Cow collagen is collected, and the parts of the molecule that don’t match the human molecule are removed so your body won’t recognize the stuff as “foreign matter” and reject it. Soon, your lips are pneumatic and gloriously kissable. It can also help facial wrinkles and acne scars.

But wait! There’s more! The other injectable is something called Alloderm. That stuff lasts longer, at least two years. Alloderm is collagen harvested from cooperative dead human bodies. The fully synthetic silicone is a lip-plumper option, if you want your mouth to match your boobs. Or you can go the surgical-implant route with Alloderm sheets and Gore-Tex, so your lips are plumped up with cadavers and windbreaker fabric. You might also have a fat transplant, from some eligible part of your body into your lips. The selection is dizzying. You’ll be looking like Angelina in no time. And there’s something here for the guys, too. Sheets of Alloderm are used for penis-enlargement surgeries.


I saw a cartoon the other day where a hobo was boiling a shoe for dinner, which got me thinking. Since we eat every other part of the cow, would there be any nutritional value in boiling my old Nikes and eating the leather?

— Shoeless Moe Contraption, via email

Oh, the handy dandy cow again. Are you imagining a tasty, nutritious stew of carrots, celery, onions, and a pair of Jimmy Choos? Or add tomatoes and chilis and your Nikes for a heartier dish? Well, there are records of people eating their clothes. Cotton, after all, is a vegetable product. And one guy in Australia claims he kept himself alive while lost in the outback by eating his shoes and drinking water. The water was much more important to his survival than his hiking boots. We can live for weeks without eating, but only days without water. As for eating leather made into shoes or belts or other useful items, the nutritional value would be close to zero. And you’d be exposed to all the chemicals and dyes used to turn the cowhide into a fashion item. Leather as a regular part of your diet would probably do more harm than good. But in the short term, it might have some psychological value if you’re stranded and there are no edible plants or small animals around.

Howdy, Matt:

I love to amuse my nephews by inhaling helium from a balloon and then talking like Donald Duck. But I’ve always wondered why helium makes your voice real high. I’ll bet you know.

— The Funny Uncle, San Diego

I’ll bet I do. And it has nothing to do with cows. Vocal sounds are made by air that comes from the lungs, through the trachea, and to the larynx. The elastic vocal cords in your larynx vibrate, and we can be heard by others. The pitch of our voices depends on the length and thickness of the vocal cords. So our genetic makeup determines the natural pitch of our voices. Helium comes into the picture when it replaces the air in your lungs and trachea. Sound travels three times faster through helium than it does through air. The faster the sound travels, the higher the pitch. This is why you sound like Minnie Mouse and make your nephews lol.

It’s Better than Pooper Shots!

Our recent question about alcohol enemas as a means of getting really drunk really fast has prompted this adventurer to contact us. Mainlining a mojito doesn’t sound like fun to me. It sounds like a near-death experience. But there’s no accounting for what some people call recreation. Do not try this at home. Frank is nuts.

Dear Reader:

If Matthew Alice thinks taking a pooper shot is crazy, I wonder how he feels about mainlining 100 proof rum. P.S.: It burns like a mother.

— Frank Allee, El Cajon

Thank you, Frank. Put down the spiketini. Take care, now.

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Regarding the leather shoes...I can see a new Nike commercial now. They say "Just do it," as someone smothers ketchup on them and starts chewing away.

I was in the Ould Sod on Adams Avenue one night. A hobo (thats so much nicer a word) came in. The bartender said they see him often. The guy was only wearing one shoe. The bartender said to him, "It looks like you lost a shoe." The hobo looked down. Then looked up. Then looked down again. After a few seconds of contemplating this, the hobo said "No. I didn't lose a shoe. I found one."

He walked out into the night, with his new found Nike.

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