The J-Man Chronicles: How the Vibrating Poop Pill Threatens Democracy

By Josh Bloom — Mar 20, 2023
Here's an idea. Let's say that you suffer from chronic constipation and that none of the usual stuff works. Might you benefit from something that sounds a bit odd - a capsule that is preactivated, swallowed, and then begins vibrating in your colon? Nope, it's not something from a Mel Brooks movie. It's real. Welcome to another unwanted chapter of the J-Man Chronicles!
Free image:

You may have seen a news item a while back when the FDA approved a rather novel new (and seriously weird)  therapy for constipation. It's called Vibrant and it's a pill with no drug. Why? Cause it doesn't need one. According to Vibrant Gastro, the company that discovered the pill. "The pre-programmed timing of the mechanical stimulation is thought to improve natural colonic motility by leveraging the colon’s biological clock." Although it sounds like something from Spencer Gifts, this thing is real and it seems to work. 

I wanted to know more so I engaged Vibrant Gastro chatbot:

Vibrant Gastro: Good morning, how can I help you?

Me I'm, uh... having a bit of a problem. I'm... a little embarrassed to talk about it.

VG: Don't be, sir. No matter what you say I can guarantee we've heard far worse. Just last week we had a desperate man contact us. He said that he hadn't had a decent bowel movement since he returned from a trip to Southeast Asia.

Me: Doesn't sound that bad.

VG: He was referring to the Vietnam War. 

Me: Oh, that is disturbing. I've read that the vibrating pill works pretty well, but hours after you take the pill it starts buzzing in your colon. And some people can feel it.

VG: Yes, that's true.

Me: No way to turn it off?

VG: Only when you expel it.

Me: That could take months. I'm as backed up as the Spirit Airlines customer complaint counter.

VG: We also include an app that tracks your progress, sort of like a diary.

(I close the chatbot. Fast.)

An app? No way! The government already has WAY too much info about me. So does tech. Mark Zuckerberg knows the size, shape, and relative juxtaposition of my testicles. All three of them. And Google is just as bad. Between credit card receipts, EZ Pass records, and traffic cameras you can't even get away with a minor traffic accident anymore. (That old lady was jaywalking. And she didn't die. Yet.) I'll be damned if I'm going to give up my last shred of privacy – the contents of my digestive system. Imagine the potential consequences. 



Potential sequelae of the Vibrant app, as shown in the diagram above, include:

  1. I take the pill and head off toward Atlantic City.
  2. Somewhere around Trenton, NJ (1), the capsule beams data to a 5G tower, perhaps the one that started Covid. 
  3. This sets off a series of events including the 5G tower sending data to:
  4. The IRS in case I win money at a casino. (This is about as likely as a mackerel jumping out of the Caspian Sea and landing in my clothes hamper).
  5. The CDC, which disapproves of my diet, instructs Tom Frieden to investigate my stool (2). (Frieden must have not liked what he saw. My medical co-pays immediately go up by 75%.)
  6. The DEA, which wants to make sure the pill was not a controlled substance. They issue their own search warrant to install a pill catcher between my toilet and the sewer. They better get comfortable because they're gonna be there a while.
  7. Facebook, of course, gets ahold of the data. 
  8. It beams data to a Russian spy satellite, which in turn reprograms US voting machines.
  9. The result –  the end of democracy. Yes, the contents of my colon will have brought down the free world. Which makes about as much sense as the other theories going around.

My colon passing through Trenton, NJ. on the way to Atlantic City.

Then there's the matter of cost. The company says that the pill costs a few dollars each but that they are not recyclable. While that may not sound too bad, keep in mind that I work at the American Council on Science and Health and our pay scale is roughly equivalent to the minimum wage in Botswana. How the hell am I gonna be able to afford a couple of hundred bucks a month??

Maybe I can get that pill back.


(1) Yes, those are the exact coordinates of Trenton.

(2) Frieden was the former director of the CDC. He was at the helm when the agency decided to take over opioid prescribing –  an unmitigated disaster for the past decade.





Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Recent articles by this author:
ACSH relies on donors like you. If you enjoy our work, please contribute.

Make your tax-deductible gift today!



Popular articles