Jun. 18th, 2011

Day 1:

Cho, who is otherwise useless, has shown some aptitude for wrangling the rodents. This is an excellent development, as I haven't got the patience for the job. Training rats to run the maze, in particular, is a thankless and onerous job. If the rat can't solve a perfectly simple twelve-branch labyrinth, then I consider it too stupid to live and am apt to smash it with a shoe. I find Oxfords to be ideal shoes for rat-smashing and I keep one hanging on a nail just for this purpose. But it's worse if the rat *can* solve the maze, because then I believe that an air of smugness comes over the beast, and then I'm like, oh yeah, if you're so smart, how about solving this eight-variable nonlinear equation, huh, smart rat? And then it can't and it's the shoe all over again. Before Cho we went through a lot of rats.

But Cho has been training the rats for the last three months and they're apparently doing fine. He has a superstar who has passed all the tests with flying colors – maze-running, pain avoidance, pattern matching, the works. He's named it Algernon for reasons that elude me. Cho says it has something to do with a book, but I've gone all through my neurology and behavioral texts and I can't find the reference.

Cho keeps Algernon secluded from the other rats. They're normally social beasts, these vermin, but the other rats can't stand Algernon. They tackle him and chew on his ears. Cho thinks the other rats sense that Algernon is somehow different and resent him. I think Cho is about as smart as a bucket of rocks, but I can empathize with a rat who's not the same as the rest. All my life I've been, on average, forty-nine times more intelligent than the people around me (with error bars of two) and I feel it's kept me apart from the rest of humanity. Many times I have thought: what if I could be dumber? What if I could just be Timmers, Regular Guy, and not Timmers, Super-Genius of Arclight Labs?

Well, Algernon, we're going to find out. I've been working very hard, and I've found a chemical that reverses the development of higher brain functions. We're going to see how you do with it. If it can make a rat dumber, what can it do for a human? Is the world ready to be even stupider?

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September 2012

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