Warning: Smith's Disease

by Simon Moore

Published in the March 2001 Issue of Anvil Magazine

Symptoms: Patient seeks to reshape metal using high heat, bizarre techniques, and dangerous tools by striking. Enjoys owning and using tools, making loud noises. Talks in a loud voice.

Disposition: Patient is generally of happy disposition, unable to recognize the antisocial and pathologic nature of this behavior.

Definitive Diagnosis: Uncontrollable urge to accumulate and caress large metal objects such as anvils and power hammers. Claims pleasure in doing so.

Incidence: Rare, but increasing. Primarily affects males, but has begun to also appear in females.

Etiology: Occasional family history. Usually begins after exposure to affected individuals and their products.

Treatment: Remove patient to fresh air. Try to re-introduce to general population. Group therapy (so-called forge-in) with fellow sufferers may promote extreme behavior. Such exposure may only cause patient to develop additional symptoms without loss of original symptoms. No cure is presently known. General deterioration proceeds until death. Alcohol use is to be avoided while symptoms are present.

Associated Conditions: Hearing loss, poverty, asymmetric muscle development, permanently dirty body and clothing.


Bladesmith's Disease: Patient becomes increasingly unproductive, yet increasingly happy.

Farrier's Disease: Patient is frustrated by imagined work pressures and complains of unsatisfied creativity. Blunt trauma, injuries with semicircular marks and stooped posture are common.

Industrial Smith's Disease: Patients possess early profound deafness, impressive musculature, and inability to recognize power hammers below 500 lbs. as anything but a paperweight.

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