Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Beef Tapeworm

I know that recycling one's own material in these online weblogs is a bit déclassé, but I promise, this one will be new-to-you.  I wrote it in 1983.  It is called The Beef Tapeworm, and that is what it's about.


I don't remember if I had any say in the selection of subject matter.  Probably not, because I do not recall ever having had any special interest in the beef tapeworm.  But then, such are the indignities of a high school freshman biology class.

It was, of course, a time when "cutting and pasting" images would involve actual destruction of a printed resource, and was therefore frowned upon.


Incidentally, I am not sure that I would reach the same conclusions were I to research the beef tapeworm today.  For example, on page three I postulate rather airily that because tapeworms depart from the "higher animals" at a fundamental taxonomic level, they are therefore "in a very low stage of evolution."  Not only does this represent blandly triumphalist biological thinking, it is if you think about it antagonistic to (or ignorant of) the very concept of a complex ecosystem.  The similarly humanocentric thinking embodied in the first full paragraph of page three makes me wince today.  I wonder why Mr. Hurley didn't mark me down?


But despite its faults, this little monograph has an ending that is absolutely flawless.  Its beauty is that it can be used in virtually any context; unlike a proglittid, it is not attached to the tapeworm.  Indeed, I think this was pretty much my go-to conclusion to almost everything I wrote for the following four or five years of my authorial career.  Even today, it or something quite like it can get me out of even the tightest textual corners.

Here it comes! 


Did you catch it?  Here it is again:


That, my friends, is pure literary gold.  It's almost too good of an ending not to use every time.  I'm sharing it with you just to level the playing field.

6 comments:

Morgan said...

It took me a while to figure out why you didn't use spell-check.

mrs.5000 said...

This fossilized evidence of your evolution as a writer is an interesting creature, and well worth studying.

Ben said...

Wow! I remember using the World Book as a research source! Those were the days...

Interesting that your teacher caught some typos and missed others.

Michael5000 said...

I checked with Morgan. He is not joking.

Ben: Yes, but what pisses me off is that he docked me for not citing my illustrations. I clearly state where I cribbed my illustrations from in the notes! I wonder if it's too late for me to appeal my grade.

Kenneth Noisewater said...

That is spelled correctly if you merely insert a hyphen.

In'eresting.

You see? Redneck magic.

DrSchnell said...

The conclusion reminds me of the conclusion of a report I wrote on Karachi, Pakistan for seventh grade social studies class - "I think Karachi sounds like a really interesting place." Also, nice Talking Heads reference in a post about tapeworms.