Sunday, 14 March 2010

Shaggy Dog Story

This has been mainly Trucking Hell, so far. However, time for a short break.

Rex, the smartest dog in the world!

Rex was an intelligent dog. Rather more intelligent than most other dogs. No, let us not beat about the bush, Rex was by far the most intelligent dog in the world.

Okay, if you were to take, say, Willow as the yardstick that isn't saying much, but really he was quite incredibly intelligent. He was able to reason and even speak in English, althoug he quickly discovered that he was better off not advertising this fact.

For a long while he accepted that he was just different, but as he got older he began to wonder exactly why he was so smart. Eventually he decided to find out, and set out to discover exactly where he came from.
Now, his memories of "The early years" were rather blurred, but he could remember...something. He could remember being in what he now knew to be a laboratory. He recognised the images in his mind as being lab equipment, and he had hazy memories of a face...a benevolent face. A face he had come, over the years, to regard as the canine version of God. The face was wearing a green suit, which he now knew to be a surgical gown, and it had a logo on it, resembling a snake eating its tail.

He had come, he realised, to accept the fact that he was a lab animal, and therefore his intelligence was, he knew, artificially induced. However, he had a doggy urge to find out why, and also to get one question answered. Why was it that whenever he stubbed his toe he got a headache. He knew that was just wrong!

Purely by luck he happened upon an old newspaper blowing along merrily in the wind. He gave it a passing glance, and suddenly he was chasing it with all his energy. Finally he caught it, and brought it down with his front feet. Unfortunately he landed badly and jarred his right foot, and was immediately overcome by waves of dizziness. Damn this curse! Why did it happen. He had to find out!

When his vision cleared, Rex saw the photograph that had caught his eye. There! Right there! On the page in front of him was a picture of a building, and on it was the very snake symbol he remembered. Not only that but the face of God smiled benevolently up at him from the page.

*Silas Milliner, the prize-winning doctor and brain injury expert today retired from forty years as head of research at Boid laboratories. Dr Milliner was responsible for the development of micro-electronic implants that slowed and eventually reversed the effects of brain injury, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. *

The piece went on to say that the benevolent Dr was retiring to a house in Newtown, which was, miracle of miracles, a short journey up the road. Rex could imagine his journey, his quest for answers coming to an end!

The poor pooch approached the house and discovered that he was begining to get concerned. What if the Dr wanted to re-examine him? What if he wanted to reverse the process? Could Rex live as a normal dog? Should he really be searching for answers? He decided that yes, he was scared, but his need for the truth outweighed his fear. He approached the house, and rang the doorbell.

The door was opened, and Rex stared into the face of God...

It was an interesting introduction. The good Doctor was surprised to see Rex, and delighted. He assured the dog that he was safe, and bade him enter. Rex could see that the poor man was making an effort, and begged him tell what worried him so.

"It is like this, Rex. You were my first success. I'd been working on a neural network for years, and finally discovered that I could interface living tissue with a gell of microprocessors of my own design. There were many failures, but you, Rex, you were the first success. You were just a stray, living on your wits, but after I implanted the technology you became far more intelligent. However, you escaped from the pound, and we lost you. Now I have the problem that I want to see you as a test subject, but my conscience forbids me to do so. You are intelligent. Supremely so, and you can communicate. I never expected this level of success. It never happened in any of the other subjects. However, you are, by any standard, an intelligent being, and I no longer have the right to treat you with any less respect than I would treat my fellow man. In fact I feel I owe you for what you may have suffered since I used you. Is there anything I can do? Anything at all?"

Rex looked up into the eyes of his God, and saw compassion, love, and a desire to pay for what he saw as his ill treatment of one of his creations, and was moved to the core.

"Doctor, I have had a good life. You owe me nothing. However, there is one thing, one thing only, that has concerned me though the years. It sounds trivial, but believe me when I say it has been a curse!"

"Tell me what it is, friend Rex, and if I can explain, and indeed rectify it, then you have my word I will"

Rex sighed. "Silly as it may seem, it is my feet. If I stub my toe I get a headache. if I jump down from a heaight even a poodle can manage, I get dizzy. Running makes me physically sick every time my feet hit the ground. Why is this?"

The Doctor sighed. "I am so sorry Rex. You have to understand that the implants I designed were not really for an animal as small as you. They were built for the skull of a human, and were far to big to fit in what is a really small brain case. So I did the next best thing. I put them in a place I thought would keep them safe. I never realised they would pain you. I put the thinking implants into the pads of your feet!"

"You mean...." said Rex...

"That's right. I gave you paws for thought..."