Local Anesthetic or Imported one?

Callous - Local vs. Imported anesthetic

Callous – Local vs. Imported anesthetic – by Carlo Jose San Juan


  • Box 1. Dr. Rianne Nicah: The lump in your arm will have to be removed surgically!
  • Box 1. Patient: Will it hurt?
  • Box 2. Dr. Rianne Nicah: Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that! You’ll be given a local anesthetic, after all!
  • Box 2. Patient: Local anesthetic?
  • Box 3. Patient: Doctor, I must insist. I want the expensive imported anesthetic!


  • lump (n.) /lʌmp/ a hard part in or on the body that stands out, like drawn on the arm of the patient in box 1 of the comic strip above.
  • removed surgically (adv.) /ˈsɜːdʒɪkəlɪ/ removed with a medical operation
  • local (adj.) /ˈləʊkəl/
    1. something that affect only a small area
    2. the opposite of imported
  • anesthetic (n.) /ˌænəsˈθetɪk/ a drug that makes you unable to feel pain during an operation
  • to insist (v.) /ɪnˈsɪst/ to demand that something must be done or that you must have a particular thing
  • imported  (adj.) /ɪmˈpɔːtɪd/ something is imported when it was brought to a certain place from another country


  • This comic is funny because the two characters have a different understanding of the word local:
    • When the doctor uses “local anesthetic”, she means that the drug will affect only the arm and that the patient will not feel the pain.
    • When the man hears “local anesthetic”, he believes that it means that the product was produced locally. He apparently has more trust in products that are sold on the international market and insists to have an imported anesthetic.

Language Feature

  • One word with several meanings: In English, as well as in other languages, many words have more than one meaning. We don’t often realize that because the context makes the meaning so obvious that we don’t think about the alternative meanings. Here, the word local was used and understood differently, which creates the confusion as well as the comic effect. Actually, uses the meanings of words different from the intended meaning is often used as a way to create jokes or comical situations like here.

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