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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gene Glitch

As readers of this blog know, I seldom review new books --or old ones for that matter-- nor do I intend to do so now, but for sake of general clarification I shall refer closely to the volume pictured above. I am reminded of a quote from Alexander Graham Bell : "Man is an animal which, alone among the animals, refuses to be satisfied by the fulfillment of animal desires."

Humans and other animals that run in packs adapt to the social hierarchies and needs of their kind, often in creative and reliable ways, then give up. So I don't agree with Mr. Bell, but then I didn't invent the telephone. He did. I simply quote him to provide an appearance of depth to my thoughts that would not otherwise be there.

The book, nearly as I can make out, begins with a description of the Human Genome Project. It was an international scientific research project, begun in 1987 and completed in 2003, intended to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs of DNA --identifying and mapping 20,000–25,000 genes from physical and functional standpoints. Where there is an anomalous mispairing of base DNA, it is called a Gene Glitch. Few people, and even fewer geneticists, know this anomaly --responsible for early baldness, guys who say "hey buddy" and several presidents-- was, like Bell Telephone,  named after its discoverer.

In 1965, I was in the EGSH high school cafeteria eating lunch and noticed the kid beside me at the table was naked except for a tutu and heavy leather hiking boots. It was Friday, fishstick day, and he was squatting in

his plate eating fishsticks off his chair. I figured he was a foreign exchange student and introduced myself.

"Gene Glitch," he replied and shook my hand, which transferred the tutu onto me and caused him to grow lederhosen and a sombrero. Gene Glitch and I ended up being lab partners in all our science classes but his strange ability to turn foetal pigs into giant butterflies and noble gasses into world leaders was found unnerving. He was sent repeatedly to the principal's office, where district counselors and administrators discounted his explanation, that he suffered a genetic anomaly, and finally resolved to donate Gene's body to science while he was still using it.

I lost touch with Gene Glitch after that but, apparently, upon escaping the Calvinistic dourness of our small town's idea of inherent evil, he was able to establish himself in scientific circles high enough to kick-start the Human Genome Project. He is now a prominent government-funded researcher, married to his cute five-foot-tall high school sweetheart who is occasionally ten six-inch-tall women.

I am afraid to read the book.


  1. I am so sorry that it has been thought necessary to reverse Gene's work and turn world leaders into gasses (and not terribly noble ones).

  2. :-)

    I'm sorry -- you've taken up all the clever in the room, and I am left only with emoticons.


  3. 'I simply quote him to provide an appearance of depth to my thoughts that would not otherwise be there.'

    This made me laugh first. After that it was laughter, mild consternation and that face you make when you're trying to figure out which is more appropriate.

  4. EC-- Leaders and gasses often overlap on the periodic table.

    Pearl-- Why you little...thanks. Your smile means a lot to me.

    Suze-- Most appropriate, and kind.

  5. "He is now a prominent government-funded researcher, married to his cute five-foot-tall high school sweetheart who is occasionally ten six-inch-tall women."


  6. Wasn't Graham murdered by his wife, strangled with a phone cord after the third telemarketer call during diner?

    I should write about some of my high achieving fellow students from high school. I'm sure I can find out about them online, I'll just have to review the State Corrections website.

  7. If I hadn't been there in 1965 at the EGHS cafeteria (as a teacher of Geo. and many other suppositious students of his ilk at that time (C'mon folks, it WAS the sixties!), I would doubt the veracity of his account here. Personally, I think he is confusing the supposed 'Gene Glitch' with a pop singer around that time, 'Gary Glitter.' I may be wrong, but at least I'm not delusional. All that being said, this is another delightful surreal if not 'pataphysical--
    account of a great no-account way!

  8. Stephanie-- Some gene glitches are positive and only selectively contagious. I'm sure Mrs. Glitch would have some complaints about it.

    Sage-- Yes, and it put a great strain on their relationship.

    Willie-- I believe the foreign exchange student that year was named Roy Ubu...Yikes! Ubu Roi? You're right!

  9. Just had a splendid time catching up on your exploits. I don't get out much, not even online, so thank you for this virtual jolliness :-)

  10. I don't believe you had a classmate named Gene Glitch. In fact, I don't believe you had ANY classmates, because your wit puts you in a class all by yourself. Another winner, dude!

  11. Lisa-- You're welcome, as always, and thanks!

    Susan-- Your deduction is accurate but, alas, my "wit" is esprit d'escalier! (can dudes say 'alas'?)

  12. *Curtsey* Far more fun than *bow* which has only one spelling. Thanks Austan!

  13. Geo., I gave you an award at the Coffee. Don't know if you go in for that sort of thing, but there it is. :)


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