Merry Christmas! . . . oops, I mean . . .

Inspired by Freeman Dyson's "Heretical Thoughts on Science and Society":  

A Christmas Story


The Scene: 

    It’s Christmas 2025.  The Donald, having forced through a constitutional amendment, is into his third term.  True to his early campaign promise, he’s driven Starbucks into bankruptcy and got everybody saying “Merry Christmas.”   

    John Jones, a sixty-five year-old whose consciousness has not yet been reconstructed, is visiting his son, Jim, and family, which includes Jim’s son, Billy.  Grampa John has settled in and is having a one-on-one with Billy. 

    Grampa John:  Well, Billy, I can’t believe it’s Christmas, it comes so soon, and here you are already twelve years old.  Your Dad and Mon tell me you like science a lot and have been getting good grades in it.  So I’d like to get you a nice gift that will keep up your interest in that.  I was thinking, how about a big, deluxe model of a Gilbert chemistry set?  Would you like that?

    Billy: [Trying hard to erase his uncomprehending stare while keeping the old boy ready to spring for a big present]  Gee, Grampa, I’m really not sure what those are.  Us kids don’t see those things around much. 

    Grampa John:  Oh, of course, I keep forgetting.  Kids today are interested in video games and computers.  Maybe we could find a couple of computer games you’d like? 

    Billy: [Hanging in there, hoping all is not lost].  Oh, Grampa, I think my Dad used to like those.  I know he talks about them sometimes.  But they don’t work on the computers we have now, so I haven’t been able to play them. 

    Grampa John:  Well, I guess I really am behind the times.  I thought those computer games were all the rage with kids.  What kind of science-type thing do you think you’d like, then? 

    Billy:  [Wondering if he can’t get the old guy to drop a couple of Franklins on an Amazon gift card and put them both out of their misery]    Grampa, what us kids are doing now is playing biotech games.  You know, you get a kit with software and stuff to make something.  Something alive.  Like, my friend Rosa has a pet she made that’s kind of a cross between a dog and a cat.  It’s really cool.  All us kids want to do something like that.  Me, I’ve been reading about dinosaurs, and there’s this kit you can get online that will let you design a really, really small T-Rex – don’t worry, not the dangerous kind, this one just eats veggies.  It’s all part of the gene stuff you do with the kit.  Actually, you can get that kit online; I think some company in California makes it, a company named DinoDesign or something.  Maybe we can find it on Amazon . . .  

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Comment by John McCreery on December 7, 2015 at 12:59am


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