Monday, January 09, 2006

Big Lame Ern Bangs Out A Seagull

So, I struck up a conversation today at work with this guy named Ernest who is a nature conservationist. He had a PhD., in fact, for conserving nature. Good for him. I'll be honest, old Ern wasn't the most enthralling of people, which was unfortunate because he'd been to all sorts of cool places all over this little pebble of earth and water we live upon, the names of most of which require one's tongue to perform backflips in order to pronounce them. And boy could he talk. And talk. And talk. What was completely ridiculous, though, was that this weenie had absolutely nothing to say. Never would I have imagined that listening to someone recount his adventures foraging through Sri Lanka with nothing but a backpack and a canteen would have been more boring than the task of rotating the bottles in our beer cooler. But alas. I mean, at least embellish a little, and tell me about how you had to defend yourself and the hot, buxom blonde accompanying you from mammoth spiders or that you were forced to use your sweet conservation skills to the max against evil, snaggle-toothed cannibals in the furthest reaches of the dark jungle.
"What did you do your doctoral thesis on?" I finally ask, deciding I'll feed this guy's ego a little bit in a half-assed attempt to work for the big tip I knew I probably wouldn't receive. Self-absorbed people don't tip, this is something you learn quick.
After a brief pause, he says casually and with a sliver of condescension, "Herring gulls. Well, specifically the reproductive cycle of the common seagull."
Wow. How atrociously unclimactic. I let this sit for a moment, and then I began to think of the colossal amounts of time this guy must have spent on studying how gulls lay eggs and do the bang-bang in order to write a doctoral thesis. And then I began to think about how big Ern is an expert on the reproductive cycle of seagulls, which I found to be thoroughly depressing. I mean, by this logic, I could get my PhD. by being an expert on the bowel movements of the two-toed sloth. It just seems silly to me, I guess, to spend all that time and energy on an education, only to become an authority on sea gulls. No wonder he was a lame-o: he'd been all over the world, but hadn't actually done anything except watch birds doing it. What a waste. Idiot.

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