The Whitepebble Religious Institute sadly announces the departure of Tom Tombaugh, it’s most prominent (and only) staff scientist, whose most notable credentials consisted of a claimed relationship to Clyde Tombaugh, founder of the disgraced wannabe planet Pluto. His resignation leaves the institute top-heavy with religious nuts.
It was top-heavy before. That’s why it was common knowledge that Tombaugh felt increasingly out of place among the pious ones. Did they even speak the same language? Tombaugh would sit in the lunchroom and long for intelligent discussion on some learned matter of science, for example, how boisterous belching or earth-splitting flatulence evolved over the eons, since our ancestors who didn‘t carry on in that way failed to scare away predators, and got eaten, but his lunchmates would attribute it all to Adam and Eve and our fall into sin! Or he’d tell us the latest scientific research, like how scientists succeeded in placing a person in a state of suspended animation by gradually lowering body temperature five degrees per hour, all the while carefully monitoring vital signs in real time hyperstasis homeovention….and kept him in such a state for almost 25 years…. and, amazingly, that man still did not lose his government civil service job….and these holy characters would nod at each other knowingly and quote some scripture about laziness, maybe this one from Prov 26:14.….A door keeps turning upon its pivot, and the lazy one upon his couch….. or they’d utter some pious intonation about how sloth is a sure sign we’re in the last days!
So he’s gone. The prestige Tombaugh leant the Institute cannot be overstated. Three years ago he presented groundbreaking research on the socially embarrassing phenomenon of sock-eating shoes, for which he was awarded the No Bell prize. Ignorant ones have long supposed this self-esteem deflator (the socks, not the prize) to be caused by defective socks sliding deeper into the shoe with every successive step, but Tombaugh proved scientifically that such was not the case! Using scientific methodology far too complex to be revealed here before you, mere dunces who are thoroughly unqualified to understand it, Tombaugh established the prime determinant was the viscosity of the individual foot, some persons and professions being naturally more slippery than others.
The No Bell scientific competition, though inspired by it’s better known homonym, has procedural rules more akin to TV’s old The Gong Show. The contestant presents his research before the judges, and if he doesn’t get “gonged,” well….he has won the prize. Our boy didn’t get gonged, and he’s been crowing about it ever since.
The Institute’s religious members urged Tombaugh to start his presentation with “Everybody knows that….” but Tombaugh would have none of it. He insisted on using the scientific method. Normally, we wouldn’t care, except we knew his financial resources and so we knew that the study groups and control groups would all be various permutations of us! Yes, we would be the guinea pigs and it would be a major pain trying to research God with this character sneaking up behind to apply double blindfolds, seemingly at random, as far as we could tell, and placebos. Nor were our fears unfounded. In hindsight, it seems beyond dispute that, when we showed up at the Judge First, Ask Questions Later religious convention wearing mismatched socks and sneakers, somehow deemed essential for his stupid research, the judges were so distracted that they completely overlooked our very worthy discoveries, namely, the Gospel of Howard and the Acts of the Pioneers. Some other clown, since recruited by the Institute, captured top billing for research on the exothermic nature of hell, research that has been embroiled in plagiarism controversy ever since.
On second thought, we’re all glad he’s gone.