I have had that cough since the early 1990s, thanks no doubt to my long history of exposure to too much fresh air in the foothill of Seattle where I grew up, and a complete lack of cigarette smoke. Of course spending a summer in Spokane after the volcano blew didnt have anything to do with it, even though everyone I know from that period in my life who was in Spokane is plagued with respiratory complaints. Mine, however, arrived one day on the heels of a minor cold, and settled in for the long haul. I had tried antibiotics, antihistamines, cough syrup, aroma therapy, steroids up my nose, and hypnosis, to absolutely no effect. Well, last week, I went to see Derek, my acupuncturist about a pain in my right knee. A half hour later, he was happily poking tiny needles in my arms, legs, and OUCH feet, and about the time I was starting to smile ironically to myself, remembering a recent study published by the Institute of Studies for the Acupuncture Society that was only able to conclude that acupuncture was extremely effective at covering people with lots of little tiny holes, he quite unexpectedly removed the lavender-scented mask over my face and in one deft move thunked one right between my eyes, in order to, as he put it, see if "we could do a little something" about my cough. Too startled to respond, I stared cross-eyed for a few seconds at the needle waving around in front of my eyes, like some liliputian spear... And the cough stopped. Not a little while later, or the next day, but right then and there. Derek smiled a knowing smile, turned down the lights, turned on a little heater pointed down at my feet, and left me alone wrapped naked in a sheet with Eastern music playing softly in the background, to ponder the meaning of life. And acupuncture.