An unnamed speaker tells a brief anecdote about how a backhoe (basically, a big ol' excavating machine) unearthed an old bottle of liquid. This bottle is a relic of the past. It's one of those quack sciences, so-called magical bottles of tonic that was advertised back in the day as the solution to all humankind's problems. As in, Cure your malaise with sugar water! Then the speaker suddenly shifts gears.