Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Acoelomorph Flatworms – The Cinematic Extravaganza

I’ve just finished reading Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale. It was a very interesting book, but it did take me a while to get to the end. As I worked my way through it, I experimented with several different ways of reading. First I tried sub-vocalisation, and heard the words in my imagination as though I was listening to a lecture in my head. But this was too slow. Although I could sub-vocalise faster than normal talking speed, I couldn’t go very much faster, probably because I was using parts of my brain that are involved with producing and understanding spoken words and they insisted that speech simply does not occur at very high rates, although imagining the lecture was given in a high pitched and squeaky voice helped somewhat.

Next I tried bypassing speech and letting the words tumble into my brain as concepts rather than sounds. This went a lot faster, although I had to be careful not to start daydreaming. Then I gave up on not day dreaming and concentrated on picking out ideas from the text and day dreaming about them. Then I developed the cinematic technique, which involves turning what I read into a blockbuster movie inside my brain, complete with computer generated special effects and talking bacteria. And so now, for your cinematic pleasure, I present to you:

Chapter 27: Acoelomorph Flatworms- the movie!

Tezza the Tapeworm, president of the Platyhelminthes Society, stared in horror with his nonexistent eyes at the acoelomorph flatworm before him. “What do you mean the Platyhelminthes aren’t a true group, let alone a phylum! You can’t break us up like this and put us in different groups! I need the acoelomorph flatworms! How am I supposed to defeat my nemesis, Phylum Porifera Man without them?"

“Oh shut up, you gutless wonder who lives in a gut,” said the flatworm as it stormed out of the room very, very slowly. “We’re better off without you. And besides, Acolelomorh Flatworms is a much better name for a band than Tezza the Tapeworm and the Paltyhelminthes. Goddammit, Tapeworm! What happened to you? You used to be something! You used to have an anus! But you gave it all away to live inside other people’s anuses.”

Meanwhile, 630 million years ago, the world was turned upside down. Terra Australis was in the Northern Hemisphere and suffering an acute identity crisis on account of its name meaning, “Southern land.” Enormous ice sheets groaned and covered the sorts of things enormous ice sheets generaly do. In the warm tropical sea that covers most of Antarctica, a progressive flatworm is having a conversation with a conservative flatworm.

PROGRESSIVE: It’s six hundred and thirty million years in the past! It’s time for us to evolve into something interesting! First of all, I’d like to develop an anus, and after that, Freudian psychology.

CONSERVATIVE: We don’t have anuses? No wonder I’ve been feeling constipated. So what do we do when we need to excrete?

PROGRESSIVE: I don’t know about you, but I use my mouth.

CONSERVATIVE: Well no wonder you talk crap. Personally, I’m just going to laze around in the sea for few hundred million years, ride out the Permian extinction, and then basically give evolving a miss until the sun turns into a red giant and the oceans boil. Oh sure, I’ll change my body chemistry to deal with environmental changes, but I’m not planning any real deviation from my basic body plan.

PROGRESSIVE: Loser! I’m going to develop the ability to parasitise livers right now! (Sound of a flatworm mutating.) There! I did it! Talk about lucky!

CONSERVATIVE: Yeah, you are a bit of a fluke. Now all you have to do is wait around for someone to evolve a liver.

PROGRESSIVE: Bugger! I should have known macro mutation never works!


At 5:04 PM, Blogger Miss Sonia said...

You know, I have some medication that will help with that.


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