This Will ROT13 Your Brain

ROT13 is an encryption cipher belonging to a class called Caesar Ciphers in which each letter in the source message is exchanged with the letter X number of letters away in the alphabet. It has become a technical shorthand for using the Caesar Cipher with a distance of 13. For instance:

source: “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!”
ROT13: “N zna, n cyna, n pnany: Cnanzn!”

source: “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.”
ROT13: “Gur dhvpx oebja sbk whzcrq bire gur ynml qbtf.”

ROT13 came into moderate use during the height of Usenet as a way to obscure profanity, dirty talk, movie spoilers, open secrets, anything the message poster wants to say with a cupped mouth out of kindness to the other readers. Due to its popularity, some Usenet client software had ROT13 capabilities built-in as a convenience to the user. It is easily breakable, as are all of the Caesar ciphers, because the letter frequencies in the message are maintained, e.g. since “E” is the most common letter used in English writing, then any Caesar ciphertext that has “H” as the most common letter likely has a distance of 3, and the message can be decrypted. The capitalization, punctuation, and numbers are unencrypted.

A few months ago, I went to Slashdot to check the day’s tech news. They have a fortune cookie at the bottom of their page that changes daily. It’s usually some sharp quip or a random joke. This one day, it was a long, long string of garbage text that went on for pages. I saved the text for analysis later, and looked at it this morning. Here is a sample of the text:

N PBQR BS RGUVPNY ORUNIVBE SBE CNGVRAGF: 1. QB ABG RKCRPG LBHE QBPGBE GB FUNER LBHE QVFPBZSBEG. Vaibyirzrag jvgu gur cngvrag’f fhssrevat zvtug pnhfr uvz gb ybfr inyhnoyr fpvragvsvp bowrpgvivgl. 2. OR PURRESHY NG NYY GVZRF. Lbhe qbpgbe yrnqf n ohfl naq gelvat yvsr naq erdhverf nyy gur tragyrarff naq ernffhenapr ur pna trg. 3. GEL GB FHSSRE SEBZ GUR QVFRNFR SBE JUVPU LBH NER ORVAT GERNGRQ. Erzrzore gung lbhe qbpgbe unf n cebsrffvbany erchgngvba gb hcubyq. %

After decoding, the message appears to be a compendium of medical jokes. It’s rather lengthy, but some of it is funny. I find it more humorous that Slashdot would use it as their fortune cookie of the day; an obviously token nod at the age and online experience of their readership. So here is the full message, decoded (formatting added for clarity). Enjoy!



  1. DO NOT EXPECT YOUR DOCTOR TO SHARE YOUR DISCOMFORT. Involvement with the patient’s suffering might cause him to lose valuable scientific objectivity.
  2. BE CHEERFUL AT ALL TIMES. Your doctor leads a busy and trying life and requires all the gentleness and reassurance he can get.
  3. TRY TO SUFFER FROM THE DISEASE FOR WHICH YOU ARE BEING TREATED. Remember that your doctor has a professional reputation to uphold.
  4. DO NOT COMPLAIN IF THE TREATMENT FAILS TO BRING RELIEF. You must believe that your doctor has achieved a deep insight into the true nature of your illness, which transcends any mere permanent disability you may have experienced.
  5. NEVER ASK YOUR DOCTOR TO EXPLAIN WHAT HE IS DOING OR WHY HE IS DOING IT. It is presumptuous to assume that such profound matters could be explained in terms that you would understand.
  6. SUBMIT TO NOVEL EXPERIMANTAL TREATMENT READILY. Though the surgery may not benefit you directly, the resulting research paper will surely be of widespread interest.
  7. PAY YOUR MEDICAL BILLS PROMPTLY AND WILLINGLY. You should consider it a privilege to contribute, however modestly, to the well-being of physicians and other humanitarians.
  8. DO NOT SUFFER FROM AILMENTS THAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD. It is sheer arrogance to contract illnesses that are beyond your means.
  9. NEVER REVEAL ANY OF THE SHORTCOMINGS THAT HAVE COME TO LIGHT IN THE COURSE OF TREATMENT BY YOUR DOCTOR. The patient-doctor relationship is a privileged one, and you have a sacred duty to protect him from exposure.
  10. NEVER DIE WHILE IN YOUR DOCTOR’S PRESENCE OR UNDER HIS DIRECT CARE. This will only cause him needless inconvenience and embarrassment.

A distraught patient phoned her doctor’s office. “Was it true,” the woman inquired, “that the medication the doctor had prescribed was for the rest of her life?” She was told that it was. There was just a moment of silence before the woman proceeded bravely on. “Well, I’m wondering, then, how serious my condition is. This prescription is marked `NO REFILLS'”.

A doctor calls his patient to give him the results of his tests. “I have some bad news,” says the doctor, “and some worse news.” The bad news is that you only have six weeks to live.” “Oh, no,” says the patient. “What could possibly be worse than that?” “Well,” the doctor replies, “I’ve been trying to reach you since last Monday.”

A woman physician has made the statement that smoking is neither physically defective nor morally degrading, and that nicotine, even when indulged to in excess, is less harmful than excessive petting.” — Purdue Exponent, Jan 16, 1925

A woman went into a hospital one day to give birth. Afterwards, the doctor came to her and said, “I have some… odd news for you.” “Is my baby all right?” the woman anxiously asked. “Yes, he is,” the doctor replied, “but we don’t know how. Your son (we assume) was born with no body. He only has a head.” Well, the doctor was correct. The Head was alive and well, though no one knew how. The Head turned out to be fairly normal, ignoring his lack of a body, and lived for some time as typical a life as could be expected under the circumstances. One day, about twenty years after the fateful birth, the woman got a phone call from another doctor. The doctor said, “I have recently perfected an operation. Your son can live a normal life now: we can graft a body onto his head!” The woman, practically weeping with joy, thanked the doctor and hung up. She ran up the stairs saying, “Johnny, Johnny, I have a *wonderful* surprise for you!” “Oh no,” cried The Head, “not another HAT!”

After his legs had been broken in an accident, Mr. Miller sued for damages, claming that he was crippled and would have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Although the insurance-company doctor testified that his bones had healed properly and that he was fully capable of walking, the judge decided for the plaintiff and awarded him $500,000. When he was wheeled into the insurance office to collect his check, Miller was confronted by several executives. “You’re not getting away with this, Miller,” one said. “We’re going to watch you day and night. If you take a single step, you’ll not only repay the damages but stand trial for perjury. Here’s the money. What do you intend to do with it?” “My wife and I are going to travel,” Miller replied. “We’ll go to Stockholm, Berlin, Rome, Athens and, finally, to a place called Lourdes — where, gentlemen, you’ll see yourselves one hell of a miracle.”

After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, “No hablo ingles.” — Ronnie Shakes

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined. — Samuel Goldwyn

Aquavit is also considered useful for medicinal purposes, an essential ingredient in what I was once told is the Norwegian cure for the common cold. You get a bottle, a poster bed, and the brightest colored stocking cap you can find. You put the cap on the post at the foot of the bed, then get into bed and drink aquavit until you can’t see the cap. I’ve never tried this, but it sounds as though it should work. — Peter Nelson

As a general rule of thumb, never trust anybody who’s been in therapy for more than 15 percent of their life span. The words “I am sorry” and “I am wrong” will have totally disappeared from their vocabulary. They will stab you, shoot you, break things in your apartment, say horrible things to your friends and family, and then justify this abhorrent behavior by saying: “Sure, I put your dog in the microwave. But I feel *better* for doing it.” — Bruce Feirstein, “Nice Guys Sleep Alone”

At the hospital, a doctor is training an intern on how to announce bad news to the patients. The doctor tells the intern “This man in 305 is going to die in six months. Go in and tell him.” The intern boldly walks into the room, over to the man’s bedisde and tells him “Seems like you’re gonna die!” The man has a heart attack and is rushed into surgery on the spot. The doctor grabs the intern and screams at him, “What!?!? are you some kind of moron? You’ve got to take it easy, work your way up to the subject. Now this man in 213 has about a week to live. Go in and tell him, but, gently, you hear me, gently!” The intern goes softly into the room, humming to himself, cheerily opens the drapes to let the sun in, walks over to the man’s bedside, fluffs his pillow and wishes him a “Good morning!” “Wonderful day, no? Say… guess who’s going to die soon!”

Be a better psychiatrist and the world will beat a psychopath to your door.

Better to use medicines at the outset than at the last moment.

Certain old men prefer to rise at dawn, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty stomach and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it. — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

Cure the disease and kill the patient. — Francis Bacon

Death has been proven to be 99% fatal in laboratory rats.

Dental health is next to mental health.

Ever notice that the word “therapist” breaks down into “the rapist”? Simple coincidence? Maybe…

For my son, Robert, this is proving to be the high-point of his entire life to date. He has had his pajamas on for two, maybe three days now. He has the sense of joyful independence a 5-year-old child gets when he suddenly realizes that he could be operating an acetylene torch in the coat closet and neither parent [because of the flu] would have the strength to object. He has been foraging for his own food, which means his diet consists entirely of “food” substances which are advertised only on Saturday-morning cartoon shows; substances that are the color of jukebox lights and that, for legal reasons, have their names spelled wrong, as in New Creemy Chok-‘n’-Cheez Lumps o’ Froot (“part of this complete breakfast”). — Dave Barry, “Molecular Homicide”

Fortune’s Exercising Truths:

  1. Richard Simmons gets paid to exercise like a lunatic. You don’t.
  2. Aerobic exercises stimulate and speed up the heart. So do heart attacks.
  3. Exercising around small children can scar them emotionally for life.
  4. Sweating like a pig and gasping for breath is not refreshing.
  5. No matter what anyone tells you, isometric exercises cannot be done quietly at your desk at work. People will suspect manic tendencies as you twitter around in your chair.
  6. Next to burying bones, the thing a dog enjoys mosts is tripping joggers.
  7. Locking four people in a tiny, cement-walled room so they can run around for an hour smashing a little rubber ball — and each other — with a hard racket should immediately be recognized for what it is: a form of insanity.
  8. Fifty push-ups, followed by thirty sit-ups, followed by ten chin-ups, followed by one throw-up.
  9. Any activity that can’t be done while smoking should be avoided.

[From an announcement of a congress of the International Ontopsychology Association, in Rome]: The Ontopsychological school, availing itself of new research criteria and of a new telematic epistemology, maintains that social modes do not spring from dialectics of territory or of class, or of consumer goods, or of means of power, but rather from dynamic latencies capillarized in millions of individuals in system functions which, once they have reached the event maturation, burst forth in catastrophic phenomenology engaging a suitable stereotype protagonist or duty marionette (general, president, political party, etc.) to consummate the act of social schizophrenia in mass genocide.

God is dead and I don’t feel all too well either…. — Ralph Moonen

“Good health” is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.

Happiness is good health and a bad memory. — Ingrid Bergman

Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. — Redd Foxx

His ideas of first-aid stopped short of squirting soda water. — P.G. Wodehouse

Human cardiac catheterization was introduced by Werner Forssman in 1929. Ignoring his department chief, and tying his assistant to an operating table to prevent her interference, he placed a ureteral catheter into a vein in his arm, advanced it to the right atrium [of his heart], and walked upstairs to the x-ray department where he took the confirmatory x-ray film. In 1956, Dr. Forssman was awarded the Nobel Prize.

I get my exercise acting as pallbearer to my friends who exercise. — Chauncey Depew

I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for. — James Boren

“I keep seeing spots in front of my eyes.” “Did you ever see a doctor?” “No, just spots.”

If a person (a) is poorly, (b) receives treatment intended to make him better, and (c) gets better, then no power of reasoning known to medical science can convince him that it may not have been the treatment that restored his health. — Sir Peter Medawar, “The Art of the Soluble”

If I kiss you, that is an psychological interaction. On the other hand, if I hit you over the head with a brick, that is also a psychological interaction. The difference is that one is friendly and the other is not so friendly. The crucial point is if you can tell which is which. — Dolph Sharp, “I’m O.K., You’re Not So Hot”

If you look like your driver’s license photo — see a doctor. If you look like your passport photo — it’s too late for a doctor.

It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist when one isn’t a dentist. It produces a false impression. — Oscar Wilde.

It’s no longer a question of staying healthy. It’s a question of finding a sickness you like. — Jackie Mason

It’s not reality or how you perceive things that’s important — it’s what you’re taking for it…

Just because your doctor has a name for your condition doesn’t mean he knows what it is.

Laetrile is the pits.

My doctorate’s in Literature, but it seems like a pretty good pulse to me.

Neurotics build castles in the sky, Psychotics live in them, And psychiatrists collect the rent.

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. — Erma Bombeck

New England Life, of course. Why do you ask?

page 46 …a report citing a study by Dr. Thomas C. Chalmers, of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, which compared two groups that were being used to test the theory that ascorbic acid is a cold preventative. “The group on placebo who thought they were on ascorbic acid,” says Dr. Chalmers, “had fewer colds than the group on ascorbic acid who thought they were on placebo.” page 56 The placebo is proof that there is no real separation between mind and body. Illness is always an interaction between both. It can begin in the mind and affect the body, or it can begin in the body and affect the mind, both of which are served by the same bloodstream. Attempts to treat most mental diseases as though they were completely free of physical causes and attempts to treat most bodily diseases as though the mind were in no way involved must be considered archaic in the light of new evidence about the way the human body functions. — Norman Cousins, “Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient”

Paralysis through analysis.

Proper treatment will cure a cold in seven days, but left to itself, a cold will hang on for a week. — Darrell Huff

Psychiatry enables us to correct our faults by confessing our parents’ shortcomings. — Laurence J. Peter, “Peter’s Principles”

Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself a therapy. — Karl Kraus

Psychiatry is the care of the id by the odd.

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. — C.G. Jung

Psychology. Mind over matter. Mind under matter? It doesn’t matter. Never mind.

Pushing 30 is exercise enough.

Pushing 40 is exercise enough.

Quit worrying about your health. It’ll go away. — Robert Orben

Sigmund’s wife wore Freudian slips.

Some people need a good imaginary cure for their painful imaginary ailment.

Sometimes the best medicine is to stop taking something.

Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.

Stress has been pinpointed as a major cause of illness. To avoid overload and burnout, keep stress out of your life. Give it to others instead. Learn the “Gaslight” treatment, the “Are you talking to me?” technique, and the “Do you feel okay? You look pale.” approach. Start with negotiation and implication. Advance to manipulation and humiliation. Above all, relax and have a nice day.

The 80’s — when you can’t tell hairstyles from chemotherapy.

“… the Mayo Clinic, named after its founder, Dr. Ted Clinic …” — Dave Barry

“The molars, I’m sure, will be all right, the molars can take care of themselves,” the old man said, no longer to me. “But what will become of the bicuspids?” — The Old Man and his Bridge

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 9 out of 10 doctors agree that 1 out of 10 doctors is an idiot.

The real reason psychology is hard is that psychologists are trying to do the impossible.

The reason they’re called wisdom teeth is that the experience makes you wise.

The secret of healthy hitchhiking is to eat junk food.

The trouble with heart disease is that the first symptom is often hard to deal with: death. — Michael Phelps

The Vet Who Surprised A Cow In the course of his duties in August 1977, a Dutch veterinary surgeon was required to treat an ailing cow. To investigate its internal gases he inserted a tube into that end of the animal not capable of facial expression and struck a match. The jet of flame set fire first to some bales of hay and then to the whole farm causing damage estimate at L45,000. The vet was later fined L140 for starting a fire in a manner surprising to the magistrates. The cow escaped with shock. — Stephen Pile, “The Book of Heroic Failures”

We have the flu. I don’t know if this particular strain has an official name, but if it does, it must be something like “Martian Death Flu”. You may have had it yourself. The main symptom is that you wish you had another setting on your electric blanket, up past “HIGH”, that said “ELECTROCUTION”. Another symptom is that you cease brushing your teeth, because (a) your teeth hurt, and (b) you lack the strength. Midway through the brushing process, you’d have to lie down in front of the sink to rest for a couple of hours, and rivulets of toothpaste foam would dribble sideways out of your mouth, eventually hardening into crusty little toothpaste stalagmites that would bond your head permanently to the bathroom floor, which is how the police would find you. You know the kind of flu I’m talking about. — Dave Barry, “Molecular Homicide”

“Welcome back for you 13th consecutive week, Evelyn. Evelyn, will you go into the auto-suggestion booth and take your regular place on the psycho-prompter couch?” “Thank you, Red.” “Now, Evelyn, last week you went up to $40,000 by properly citing your rivalry with your sibling as a compulsive sado-masochistic behavior pattern which developed out of an early post-natal feeding problem.” “Yes, Red.” “But — later, when asked about pre-adolescent oedipal phantasy repressions, you rationalized twice and mental blocked three times. Now, at $300 per rationalization and $500 per mental block you lost $2,100 off your $40,000 leaving you with a total of $37,900. Now, any combination of two more mental blocks and either one rationalization or three defensive projections will put you out of the game. Are you willing to go ahead?” “Yes, Red.” “I might say here that all of Evelyn’s questions and answers have been checked for accuracy with her analyst. Now, Evelyn, for $80,000 explain the failure of your three marriages.” “Well, I–” “We’ll get back to Evelyn in one minute. First a word about our product.” — Jules Feiffer

When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it can’t be cured. — Anton Chekhov, “The Cherry Orchard”

Your digestive system is your body’s Fun House, whereby food goes on a long, dark, scary ride, taking all kinds of unexpected twists and turns, being attacked by vicious secretions along the way, and not knowing until the last minute whether it will be turned into a useful body part or ejected into the Dark Hole by Mister Sphincter. We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it. — Dave Barry, “Stay Fit & Healthy Until You’re Dead”

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?