The Answer Used To
Be Blowing In The Wind
by Mad Dog
And now we have the farting gene. At least in cows and
sheep. No one knows yet whether humans have this gene, but chances are
good that we do. At least men, anyway.
||Scientists in New Zealand
are working on a vaccine that will stop cows and sheep from emitting so
much methane. That’s farting and belching to you. Apparently it’s a
real problem there because the 45 million sheep and 10 million cattle
that live in New Zealand burped and tooted about 90 percent of the
country's methane emissions, and that needs to be reduced if they’re
going to comply with the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming. It
almost makes you glad we were the only civilized country to reject the
Protocol—which says a lot about Australia, which also rejected
it—even though the only reason we didn’t sign it was that President
Bush thought Kyoto was a new Japanese car manufacturer and he was
protecting Ford and GM from bankruptcy. Fat lot of good that did.
According to Phil Goff, New Zealand's
trade minister, scientists there have mapped the genome that causes
ruminant animals to produce methane. A genome, for those of you who
slept through Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis 101—or the
last 25 episodes of CSI Anywhere—is a genetic sequence on a set
of chromosomes. These sequences help scientists understand what makes
us, and other living creatures, what we are. They cause dogs to be dogs,
sheep to be sheep, and most animals to break wind. While unraveling the
human genome, scientists have discovered the blue eyes gene, the obesity
gene, the night owl gene, the gay gene, and the Alzheimer’s gene. In
fact, some scientists just announced in the journal Cell that
they found a second gene that’s linked to Alzheimer’s. Apparently
they forgot that someone had already discovered one.
Goff thinks we’re only a couple of baby steps away from
inoculating cows against breaking methane wind. Personally, I’ll
believe it when I strap on the jet pack and pop the food pills they
predicted we’d be using when I was a kid.
And now we have the farting gene. At least in cows and sheep. No
one knows yet whether humans have this gene, but chances are good that
we do. At least men, anyway. I mean, seriously, you didn’t think the
ability to burp the ABCs was an acquired talent, did you?
While there’s still a lot of work
to be done before Silent Wind TM hits the supermarket shelves,
Goff thinks we’re only a couple of baby steps away from inoculating
cows against breaking methane wind. Personally, I’ll believe it when I
strap on the jet pack and pop the food pills they predicted we’d be
using when I was a kid.
Even if they do develop the vaccine
it might not work. After all, vaccines are notoriously long on hope and
predictions, and short on success. But if they are successful and it
turns out that non-mellifluous bovines don’t inflate and float away,
spontaneously explode, or exhaust something more noxious than
methane—like, say, Aramis—then it would be a great idea to try the
vaccine on humans. If it worked it could help slow global warming,
reduce your carbon footprint, save a polar bear or two, and translate
into one less time you’d have to watch An Inconvenient Truth on
your solar powered DVD player while driving your Prius. Not to mention
save more than a few marriages.
we could be inoculated against the fat gene as kids, we could look
forward to being as slim and trim as Naomi Campbell, though hopefully we
would have had a dose of the aggression vaccine too so we wouldn’t
beat our personal assistant.
Once they have the degasser perfected they can get down to work
on vaccines for other genes. Since scientists have discovered genes that
affect aggression, how about creating an anti-aggression vaccine? Given
to babies, it could bring about the end of violent crime, bar fights,
marital spats, and war in one short generation. Sure it would ruin
professional football, tennis, and videogames other than Barbie
Fairytopia, but would that really be such a bad thing? I mean, we’d
still have non-aggressive sports like golf. Without any clubs being
thrown, too. All in all it would be a small price to pay to have smiley,
calm, friendly presidential debates.
Then of course there’s the famous
fat gene, and I don’t mean the boy who lived down the block when you
were a kid who was teased mercilessly about his weight and now owns the
company you work for. If we could be inoculated against the fat gene as
kids, we could look forward to being as slim and trim as Naomi Campbell,
though hopefully we would have had a dose of the aggression vaccine too
so we wouldn’t beat our personal assistant, throw our cell phone at
the housekeeper, and attack pilots on airplanes. This points out just
how important it is to make sure you get all your shots.
What if the type of mass inoculations
that pretty well wiped out polio, whooping cough, measles, and
diphtheria were available for obesity, aggression, and farting? For that
matter, wouldn’t it be nice if we could be vaccinated against colds,
flu, indigestion, diabetes, heart disease, athlete’s foot, and bad
breath? How about hangnails, pneumonia, pimples, male pattern baldness,
and the yellow smoky air I’ve been breathing the past few days from
the wildfires? Sure we’d need to be given a series of 248 shots, but
we’d receive them when we were babies and the trauma of going through
all that wouldn’t scar us much past our next two lives, give or take a
reincarnation. It would be a small price to pay for a beautiful,
perfect, gasless life, wouldn’t it?
©2008 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Read them with your fingers pinching your nose just in case.