Jellyfish erections

IT’S a minefield (or possibly a goldmine, depending on your point of view) of double entendre and sexual innuendo.

According to the Townsville Bulletin’s story on Thursday: “Researchers have found an elusive species of the potentially fatal stinger can cause, aside from painful cramps and vomiting, a prolonged erection.”

At first I was going to ignore it as beneath my dignity, but it’s not every day you hear that jellyfish can give you an erection.

Personally I don’t even think they’re very pretty…

Someone is not thinking this through. I mean… if you get stung by a jellyfish, that’s not an erection — it’s a swelling, and it’s of no value whatsoever.

I don’t even want to get me started on the financial waste involved in chasing aphrodisiac jellyfish when we should be curing cancer.

Especially when every attempt at serious study is going to end up with all the scientists giggling behind the laboratory benches.

James Cook University PhD student Lisa-ann Gershwin was quoted in the Bulletin as saying: "It’s a potentially large discovery from a pharmaceutical point of view."

Sounds like a potentially large discovery from an erection point of view, too, Ms Gershwin!

Nudge, nudge.

You see… they’ll be wetting themselves before they’ve dissected their first irukandji.

Aphrodisiacs are not new, of course. For hundreds of years people have been eating rhino horn or tiger willies to improve their sexual prowess.

There’s no evidence that it works, however.

I guess there’s a certain male pride to be had in consuming bits of tiger — even their penises — and rhino. But somehow jellyfish don’t impart the necessary macho image.

Not that you have to eat them, apparently. You just have to be stung by them.

Are they joking!

The reported outcome is painful cramps, vomiting and a hard-on.

I would suggest that any value accruing from the “prolonged erection” is going to be completely destroyed when you throw up over your girlfriend.

Ms Gershwin is also quoted as saying: "When you’re in the throes of irukandji syndrome, having an erection is a really unpleasant thing, when you think you’re going to die and you’ve got this whole other thing you’ve got to deal with.”

Wrong, Ms Gershwin.

I can assure you that when I am stung by a jellyfish and I think I am going to die, an erection will be the last thing on my mind.

Even castration will not be bothering me at that point.

Other symptoms of jellyfish stings, Ms Gershwin reported, include a potentially fatal rise in blood pressure and severe cerebral haemorrhaging.

But can they be sure the sting is responsible?

At my age an erection could do that to you!

And to cap the whole childish thing off (and no offence intended Ms Gershwin) the scientist involved is called Gershwin.

The same name as the composer who wrote I Can’t Sit Down, On My Mind, The Whole Night Long and They Can’t Take That Away From Me.

I am being flippant, but that’s always going to be the problem — no one is going to take it seriously.

Somehow the two words — erection and jellyfish — are horribly contradictory.

We might have hunted tigers and rhinos almost to extinction to improve our sex life, but we’ll need to be a lot more desperate before the jellyfish is in danger of being wiped out.