Science – Just say no!

Hey man, can you spare a dollar or two?  Look, I promise I won’t use it on test tubes.  I’m done with science – I’m clean now, I swear.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Beard, stained lab coat, my sign’s written on graph paper, I still look like one of those science addicts.  But not anymore.  I’ve quit the habit.

It all started off so innocently – a little dabbling in the Scientific Method after church.  Everyone was doing it, you know?  Formulate a couple of hypotheses, maybe draw an inference or two, get a nice little buzz flowing.  Just recreational, though.  No one was using any equipment, not yet, although Tommy kept on claiming that he had a pipette hidden in his sock drawer.

Of course, just theorizing isn’t enough after a while.  Gotta move on to experimenting.  Sociology, at first – they call it one of the gateway sciences.  Doesn’t need the accelerometers of physics or the petri dishes of biology.  We still thought we weren’t addicted, back then.  We kept telling ourselves that we could leave the field whenever we wanted.

Things just spiraled down from there.  Sociology led to psychology, and pretty soon I had a whole biology lab going in my basement.  One night I was building a compound microscope for 12 hours straight, babbling on about foci and apertures.  Anyone can find plans, these days, if they know where to look on the sleazy parts of the internet.

I wasn’t alone in this, of course.  Some of my fellow junkies would hit me up for collaborative projects every now and then.  Eventually, I even had some grad students in my lab, slaving away on my projects for days on end, basically indentured servants slaving away for the promise of second or third author.

In contrast, I was living the high life back then.  Data was rolling in, the lab was churning out plenty of results for me to throw around, and the authorities left me alone in exchange for a couple of forensic analyses a month.

Too soon, though, it all dried up.  I couldn’t keep up the rate of breakthroughs and another biology lab started putting out better, newer theories, muscling in on my turf.  My students left, the data streams stopped, and I had to resort to pimping out my equipment just to get mentioned in the journals.  That was rock bottom.

But that’s all behind me now.  I’ve sworn off science, man.  I’m not even reading the news stories.  Total cold turkey.  But it’s hard, and at night sometimes I still get the rush, the urge to mix up some strains, to feel that rush of science again.  But I know how dangerous knowledge is, now.  I’m resisting.  So come on, man, spare a buck.

Hey!  Where are you going?  Come back!

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