Men of Science

A round of applause for the astrophysics boffins who’ve confirmed Einstein’s theory for the 200th time. I myself was convinced after the 27th validation, but we gorillas can feel these things in our bones. Einstein is big in the Congo. When the local witch doctor got uppity after a successful voodoo spell, I put him in his place by likening him to a pimple on the great man’s arse.

“He could have snapped his fingers and made you disappear into a Black Hole,” I said. “You would have come out in a new universe with seven extra dimensions – all of them extra fat in your case.”

He pretended to laugh it off, but my spies tell me he’s been trying to lose weight ever since on a diet of river shrimp and water cabbage.

Scientists are feared and respected in our part of the world. Their mojo is big and their medicine is powerful. By “scientist”, I don’t mean pontificators and provocateurs of the Dicky Dawkins variety. Pasty-faced sissies of his ilk would run crying to mummy if their tour bus got a puncture. No, it’s the men with Big Machines who are revered over here – the guys who can sweep Mother Nature off her tender feet and leave her lying in a haystack with a guilty flush on her face. “Don’t mess with The Engineer,” said Wise Old Melonhead, “for he is the wizard who maketh loud noises that causeth the lion to shit its pants”.

Take my old friend
Dr Maroon, born and bred in the mean streets of Glasgow. When most of his schoolmates were bumming cigarettes, he was in the garden shed, dissecting his mother’s hairdryer and putting it together again with 20% more oomph. The other boys may have laughed at the short trousers he wore until his 15th birthday, but that was water off a duck’s back for a lad destined to become the Werner von Braun of the Scotch turbine. Today, Dr Maroon’s finely-chiselled features appear on TV to announce new contracts for the shipbuilders of the Clyde, while the bully who flushed his head in the school bog draws minimum wage in a chippy outside Ibrox Stadium. Brains, talent and hard work – they always tell in the end.

Yet in spite of all their achievements, the technologists of our age have not been given due prominence in popular entertainment. For every Scotty of the Enterprise, there must be a hundred tough-talking TV detectives roughing up suspects and flashing their weapons indiscriminately. Everyone loves to watch Dirty Harry firing his 44 Magnum into the juggernaut trying to flatten him, causing it to crash headlong into a nearby Wal Mart, but spare a thought for the men in hard hats who come round next morning to check the building for structural integrity. In their desire to give people cheap thrills, movie producers have lost sight of the big picture.

Perhaps this lack of exposure explains why engineers have such trouble reproducing. For all his macho talk about warp drive, I can’t remember Scotty ever getting laid. Depriving the human gene pool of their excellent pedigree is a terrible waste. If I were the manager of a sperm bank I’d pay premium rates for their man juice, and give a discount to any loving lesbian couple willing to bear their babies and raise a new generation of techno-men. Perhaps Dr Maroon should get the ball rolling by making a donation forthwith.

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