Subject:  How many rat heads equals a tree?
     Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 13:17:15 -0500
     From:  "L. Van Warren" <lvwarren at wdv dot com>
Organization: Warren Design Vision
OK -

I am continually amazed at the bizarre choices one must make in life:
My cash flow recently became "tight," and I was looking for new opportunities.

After scouring the ads  I have to decide between two jobs, "Science" or "Technology".  Both have been lifelong pursuits.  But to choose?

I will spare you the details of the job and the interview and just cut to the decision making chase:

The "technology" job asks me to use my remote sensing expertise to help loggers know WHICH forests are MOST ready for plundering.  This one is interesting because my wife is a tree activist.  She founded the state's "Famous and Historic Tree" program.  She talks to community groups about tree and forest preservation.   It would also make for some interesting pillow talk.  I might say, "Honey, how many trees did you plant today with your five kindergartners?" and she would reply, "Oh six, but we got tired", then she might say, "Honey, how many acres of the North American continent did you deforest today with your eighty one Caterpillar tree whackers?", And I would reply, "Four thousand, but we ran out of daylight"...

On the other hand, the "science" job asks me to, I am not kidding, -check this out-,  CUT THE HEADS off dozens of fully awake white rats with a heavy pair of scissors while BLOOD SPURTS EVERYWHERE.  That alone would be enough.  BUT THERE IS MORE!  This is so that their eyes can be gouged out, one at a time.  Their retinas are served on a glass slide for microscope viewing and the question is asked, "Did the anti baby blindness drug work?"

This is one of those things that when the interviewer asks you offhandedly, "Can you," that you really don't think about, "Can I cut the head off a rat?" "Sure, no problem, I can cut two heads off a rat", "How hard can it be?  I heard that Ozzy Osborne bit the head off a bat. I get to use scissors!

Everything was fine, till the post interview tour when I got to hold one of the little buggers.  It was nice and warm and happy.  It seemed to be doing just fine with its head still attached.  It reminded me of my daughter's hamster.  For some reason the nursery rhyme, "three blind mice" came into my mind.  Having been raised in the medical field, I instinctively started inventing ways to read the "science" data out of the live animal without separating the wiggly critter from its head, and by God I came up with a couple.  I addressed the problem with detail and called it, the PDQ method, as in, "let's stop cutting off rat heads Pretty Darn Quick".  But as fate often has it,  my PDQ methods looked NIH, as in, "Not Invented Here".  There is a thought buried in the universal psyche, that says,  "we've been cutting off rat heads with scissors for years, why stop?"

Then there is location and salary to think about ...

I guess it all comes down to, "How many rat heads equals a tree?"

- Van

(c) 1998 L. Van Warren * All Rights Reserved