Sunday, June 29, 2008

Animal Tales


“Hey, can I ask you something? Why do human children dissect us?”
“It’s part of their education. They cut open our bodies in school and write reports about their findings.”
“Huh. Well, I guess it could be worse, right? I mean, at least we’re not dying in vain.”
“How do you figure?”
“Well, our deaths are furthering the spread of knowledge. It’s a huge sacrifice we’re making, but at least some good comes out of it.”
“Let me show you something.”
“What’s this?”
“It’s a frog-dissection report.”
“Who wrote it?”
“A fourteen-year-old human from New York City. Some kid named Simon.”
(Flipping through it.) “This is it? This is the whole thing?”
“Geez. It doesn’t look like he put a lot of time into this.”
“Look at the diagram on the last page.”
“Oh, my God . . . it’s so crude. It’s almost as if he wasn’t even looking down at the paper while he was drawing it. Like he was watching TV or something.”
“Read the conclusion.”
“ ‘In conclusion, frogs are a scientific wonder of biology.’ What does that even mean?”
“It doesn’t mean anything.”
“Why are the margins so big?”
“He was trying to make it look as if he had written five pages, even though he had only written four.”
“He couldn’t come up with one more page of observations about our dead bodies?”
“I guess not.”
“This paragraph looks like it was copied straight out of an encyclopedia. I’d be shocked if he retained any of this information.”
“Did you see that he spelled ‘science’ wrong in the heading?”
“Whoa . . . I missed that. That’s incredible.”
“He didn’t even bother to run it through spell-check.”
“Who did he dissect?”
“Betsy’s husband? Jesus. So this is why Harold was killed. To produce this . . . ‘report.’ ”
(Nods.) “This is why his life was taken from him.”
(Long pause.)
“Well, at least it has a cover sheet.”
“Yeah. The plastic’s a nice touch.”

Source: Simon Rich, The New Yorker, June 30 2008

MEA CULPA: I apologise to the Frog Family for all the dissections I performed in High School. I assure you that I did not act on free-will and took no pleasure in the whole operation. As penitence, I swear to sign any online petition to ban this cruel act and promise never to even consider eating Swikee. On an end-note, I'm sure you will be pleased to know that I put great care into all my reports and did my best to respect the family of the poor animals I slaughtered.

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