By Aric Steinberg

The prevalence of vice-abuse in the United States is increasing to epidemic proportions. At present, a staggering number of Americans are suffering from a variety of debilitating side-effects due to excessive-vice-indulgence, or EVI. In the absence of adequate treatment, EVI has a grave prognosis. The current standard for treatment of EVI is based on abstinence from chosen vice(s), resulting in an absence of debilitating side-effects. Unfortunately, current treatment methods have failed due to the staggering number of vices available to Americans. Studies have shown that although abstinence from a particular vice will indeed prevent side-effects from manifesting, the patient will simply indulge a different vice, and subsequently suffer the side-effects associated with the new vice.

Dr. Aric Steinberg, D.V. earned his doctorate from an innovative new program at Antioch University, wherein the candidate is required to sit down with the department heads and simply explain to them why he/she deserves a doctorate. It is said that the more the candidate refers to/blames his Mother, the better his chances for success.

Dr. Steinberg’s vast knowledge of many of today’s more popular vices has earned him a D.V., Doctorate of Vices. His direct participation in, addiction to, and subsequent sobriety from several of said vices have made him the leading practitioner of Vice-Replacement Therapy, or VRT. His findings have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Ladies Home Journal, and High Times Magazine. His best-selling book, “Women not Weed; Why Porn is Better Than Pot”, has changed American society forever. Productivity in many fields of business has skyrocketed, increasing profits at many movie studios, Universities, and 7/11’s. Dr. Steinberg’s second book, “The Antiquated Notion of Willpower; Eat Your Way to a Nicotine-Free Life”, crippled the tobacco industry. His new book, “Scratch your way to sobriety”, will be available shortly, pending the conclusion of several class-action lawsuits.

After five months of intense beta-testing, Dr. Steinberg has released some of his results. His findings are both fascinating and disturbing, much like the researcher himself. Here is an excerpt from his latest book.

You gotta have a vice. In the immortal words of Adam Ant, “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?” Well, I’ll tell you what you do. Scratch. Go to the liquor store, buy a few lottery scratchers and scratch your ass off. My studies have shown that scratching lottery tickets can replace many of the more harmful vices and satisfy those self-destructive desires. Many of the sensations experienced while consuming alcohol or smoking cigarettes can be replicated during the scratching process.

First, scratching is addictive. It is gambling, and like any type of gambling it can become pleasingly compulsive. As you continue to lose your money, you will start to genuinely believe that your odds of winning are increasing, and you will spend more and more money trying to prove it. When you do finally win something, you will quickly redeem the ticket for more tickets instead of the cash reward, demonstrating the type of behavior associated with addiction. When you have spent all the cash in your pocket, the state has measures in place to protect you from yourself; you cannot use a credit or ATM card to purchase lottery tickets. So your binge will eventually end, and with no physical after-effects.

Second, scratching feels a bit naughty. When you quit drinking you will suffer from what I refer to as, “Goody-Two-Shoes-Disorder”, or GTSD. Your need for naughtiness will manifest itself in insidious ways, such as shoplifting or masturbating in movie theatres. You can avoid these manifestations by spending your grocery money on “Bingo” scratchers and hiding the cards from your girlfriend.

Third, the anticipation of looking at a handful of pristine, unscratched cards is akin to stirring your first cocktail or opening a fresh pack of cigarettes. I suggest you polish your scratching coin, tilt the driver’s seat back (because who actually makes it all the way home before scratching) and savor the thrill of your first scratch as you would your first sip or hit. The ritual is as fulfilling as the thrill of victory.

I have spent many years enjoying many vices, and I have decided that scratching is vicealicious. My critics have said that I am only replacing one dangerous vice for another. To them I say, look at the title of this paper, and then try to criticize my work.

Current research has linked alcohol consumption to a number of debilitating conditions including cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, impaired synaptic activity, and being hung-over. These conditions are considered un-enjoyable by many, and have resulted in a movement towards sobriety for a vast segment of the population. There has been a correllationary decrease in alcohol-related car accidents, spousal abuse and porcelain idolatry. The ratings have plummeted on such shows as Cops, Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, and When Animals Get Wasted. Several new sit-coms have been abruptly cancelled, like She Hit Me First!, You Think You’re Better Than Me?, and Cheers, After Hours.

Aric Steinberg received his B.A in Creative Writing from Antioch University

Cartoonist Rene Baur's work can be found at

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