Shell Shocked: Part pygmy, part moron
Have you seen the TV commercials which promise to reveal your ancestry? In one commercial a woman reveals that after providing her information to the genealogy service she discovered that she was part American Indian, Spanish and Scottish. That’s quite an ancestry.
I was curious about my own background and decided to sign up. I discovered that I was one part pygmy, one part Martian and two parts Vesuvian. My family tree was more like a weed garden.
I went to my doctor and told him about the findings of this genealogy organization. He became alarmed and decided that he would send me for some brain scans. Two weeks later he sent for me.
“I have some bad news for you,” he began in his typical bedside manner. “I wanted to make use of current scientific breakthroughs in molecular research to further ascertain the potential risks you may face as a result of the genealogy studies you shared with me. Your biological background is a telling part of your future.”
I fidgeted. What bad news could he possibly have on the basis of my ancestry? He said: “The brain scans we did turned out to be necessary and revealing. In addition to your being part pygmy, Martian and Vesuvian, you are also a 25 percent moron.
“Come again?” I said. “Is that an insult? Or are you trying to poke some humor into a serious diagnosis?”
‘Not at all,” the doctor said. “When we examine the brain we look for a certain line up of cells, molecules and brain matter. We can detect ancestry through this scientific process as well as other vital personality and brain function issues. Your brain exam tells me that you’re a partial moron. Tell me; are you prone to saying and doing stupid things?”
I thought about his question for a long time. I didn’t regard myself as being stupid and was both puzzled and shocked that my personal physician would come up with such a diagnosis.
“Doctor,” I shouted, “I’m a smart guy. I’ve had a great career and no one has ever called me a moron before. It’s true that I was sometimes referred to as an imbecile but never a moron. How can you be sure that I have moron genes?”
The doctor studied the CAT scan results some more. “Your pygmy genes kicked in at the age of six. Did you ever wonder why you didn’t grow very much until you were fourteen years old?”
I thought about this. I was very small for my age throughout my childhood and suddenly shot up almost overnight when I got to my teens. “So you’re saying this was because of pygmy genes? The genealogy reports I received don’t indicate anything about my ancestors being morons.”
The doctor said “that’s because moron genes don’t turn up in routine genealogical studies. Moron genes can only be detected through modern CAT scans. “
“Well, how does this affect my future? I’ve lived a smart life up until now and have never felt like or behaved like a moron. Are these latent genes or will they affect me all at once someday?”
The doctor took off his stethoscope and pondered my question. “Moron genes can become dominant at almost any time,” he replied. “You could be driving a car, writing a column or eating ice cream. Modern science can only detect moron genes but can’t predict with any accuracy when they may kick in.”
I couldn’t believe that becoming a stupid moron (an oxymoron, of course) was in the cards for me. I had always lived off my brilliance and savoir faire. Would there come a day when I would turn into a raving moron? What would that be like?
I left the doctor’s office thinking about all this when suddenly I ran into an old friend. He asked me how I was feeling. I said: “Why is the sky blue, Bill? And why do birds fly?”
-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.