Will the madness ever stop? Golden Palace, the Kahnawake-based online casino that's famous for purchasing unusual items on eBay, appears to have outdone itself . . . again. The company on Wednesday submitted the winning bid of $9,990 on a morsel of dried up mucus from the nose of former U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
The beloved former commander in chief is said to have wiped the specimen on the underside of a podium during a speech delivered in the winter of 1962.
The item has been kept in a custom-built moisturizing chamber similar to a humidor. Golden Palace says it had the mucus DNA tested before completing the transaction, and lab technicians have verified its authenticity.
Peter Van Kleemer, the specimen's keeper for more than 40 years, called seizing the dried mucus a "once in a life time opportunity." Van Kleemer, 78, was working as an interpreter for the hearing impaired at the time of the alleged wiping.
His duty (which he fulfilled) on the evening of Kennedy's speech before the Urban Dairy Testers of America Organization in Milwaukee was to stand off to the side of the president and sign the entire dissertation for the audience.
The speech changed Van Kleemer's life, but not in what most people would consider a conventional manner.
"I saw the president wipe at something by his nose, and then as he went on speaking, I noticed him flicking at something with his hand behind the podium," he said. "After a minute or two of flicking, he ran his hand along the bottom of the podium shelf. I thought to myself, 'He can't be. . . Could he?'"
Van Kleemer returned to the scene after the secret service vacated the auditorium and found what he calls "the royalist viscous secretion known to man."
"That booger has magical powers. There's no doubt," he said. "I don't know how or why, but things just better from that point on."
Van Kleemer's wife admits that he's "a little nuts," and most of his friends didn't sense a connection between the discovery and good fortune.
"I really don't think much changed after Peter's 'find,'" explained longtime neighbor and friend Colin Crouch. "But I do know that he loved that booger."
Relatives say Van Kleemer used to show it off every chance he got.
"People would come over and he would take them into the study where he had it on a shelf," Van Kleemer's cousin Frank Fray recalled. "Then he would recite a good two or three minutes of the speech the President gave that day. He had the whole thing memorized."
Fray said Van Kleemer became a true believer on the day Kennedy was assassinated.
"Peter claims that on the morning of Nov. 21, he walked into the study to find that the booger had mysteriously fallen off the shelf," Fray said. "He didn't think much of it until he heard the news later that day. He swears it has been a source of inspiration ever since then."
So why, then did Van Kleemer part with his beloved, lucky treasure after all these years?
"Are you serious?" Van Kleemer responded when asked that very question. "When I saw that someone sold a sandwich for $28,000 on eBay, it was a no-brainer. I mean, it's a damn booger."
Golden Palace intends to take the booger on a charity tour of county fairs throughout North America. For $20 a pop, fairgoers will be able to enter a competition in which they flick the booger at a poster of Fidel Castro for a chance to win a trip to Washington, DC, for the 2009 presidential inauguration.
When the "Tour de Snot" concludes, the booger will be placed in a locket and draped around the neck of Golden Palace's Ellen DeGeneres Cabbage Patch doll (another eBay purchase) and launched into space inside Wild Fire, the privately owned spaceship that's sponsored by Golden Palace.
Company spokeswoman Deb Lavy said the space flight has sparked a sense of national pride.
"To our knowledge," Lavy said, "this will be the first time human mucus has flown solo in space. It will be a great day in Canadian history."
Editor's Note: This article is a completely fictitious attempt at April Fools humor. Sorry.