The Movie Diary

Sick as a dog: part II

By Dom Cioffi

Last week in this column, I chronicled a sickness I was experiencing while writing. I explained in the very first sentence, “At this exact moment, as I’m typing these words into my laptop, I am ridiculously sick. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill sickness either; this is the laid-up-in-bed, stomach-rebelling, joint-aching, head-throbbing kind of sickness.”

I went on to explain the events of those first 24 hours and how dreadful I felt. Little did I know how bad it was going to get.

It is now one week later, and after two doctors visits, two separate medications, and one of the worst health scares of my life, I can officially put a name to my horrible experience: Salmonella poisoning.

That’s right, good ‘ol Salmonella. Other than E. coli, Salmonella ranks as the poster child of famous food bacteria and one of the most painful intestinal ailments one can endure.

I can tell you as a recently ordained authority that this is one bacteria that you never want to overtake you. It is a destructive critter that, while it’s multiplying inside of your intestines, makes you feel as if you are being hijacked by an alien force.

Pull up an image of Salmonella on Google and you’ll discover an adorable minion-looking bacterium with a smattering of tiny tentacles. But don’t let this cartoonish façade fool you. While Salmonella is rarely deadly, it does pack a deadly punch no matter how healthy you may be prior to contracting it.

It’s been over a week and I’m still in the recovery phase. I went nearly four days without food entering my body other than Gatorade (which I could barely keep down) so needless to say, I am almost ten pounds lighter than I was last week.

I must admit that I did receive exceptional care while in the throes of this disease. My physician was extremely attentive and sympathetic to my suffering and contacted me several times to check on my progress.

Interestingly, I was also contacted by the state health organization, who spent over 20 minutes asking me questions about the food I had eaten and where I had dined prior to my symptoms occurring. Salmonella poisoning can have a gestation period from between eight to 72 hours so I wracked my brain trying to remember where I had been the weekend before.

I also received numerous questions about my home and the condition of my kitchen. I explained with great relief that there was absolutely no way I contracted Salmonella in my own home because, ironically, our kitchen is currently being remodeled. My wife and her cooking, thankfully were not the culprit.

In the end, I’m ready to start eating normally again. I have learned the importance of washing the fruit and vegetables that I buy at the grocery and I have learned that thoroughly cooked meat is a must before human consumption (so forget that rare steak). But most importantly, I learned that hand washing by restaurant employees is the number one way to halt the spread of Salmonella. Unfortunately, I can’t control that.

There’s no doubt that Salmonella is a bully, but Salmonella pales in comparison to the bully featured in this week’s film. “Tickled,” an investigative documentary, highlights a truly evil modern day predator.

“Tickled” started as journalist David Farrier’s curiosity project when he uncovered an odd YouTube video that featured something called “Competitive Endurance Tickling.” The video feature young men strapped to a table while other young men tickled them in a variety of ways—always fully clothed and with no sexual overtones.

Farrier found this “sport” comical so he wrote a letter of inquiry in the hope that he could turn it into a human interest story. The response he received was profoundly disturbing, with serious attacks to his professional work and personal lifestyle.

From there, Farrier started digging. What he uncovered was both scary and unsettling as a picture of deceit, blackmail and extortion began to appear.

I love the occasional documentary, especially ones that shine a light on an important subject. While this film originally looks to be about one thing—an odd fetish practiced by a select few—in the end you learn that it is about something entirely different.

The exposure brought by this film is what karma is all about. Check this one out if you’re in the mood for a riveting investigation into a bizarre world where one person spent entirely too much time destroying other people’s lives.

A disconcerting “B+” for “Tickled.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at

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