Ask Dr. Eldritch

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Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

Dear Dr. Eldritch,
Ask Dr. Eldritch Pongo    It is with excitement and trepidation that I write to you, as the very act of requesting succor may jeopardize my freedom, if not my very life itself. I am in great danger, and must evade relentless pursuers and establish a new life far separated from my previous existence. Currently, I am secreted within a public library for clandestine access to the Internet. Discouraging hours of fruitless searching suddenly yielded victory when I found your site. I hope your expansive knowledge and open-mindedness will allow you to accept the truth of my situation and guide me to a successful path of escape. Allow me to elucidate.

I am a test subject in a covert, military-funded research project, experimenting with artificially-induced super-intelligence. Officially I am called Subject SIP-5, but the laboratory assistants have been calling me "Pongo." I do not know if this was my birth name, as I have virtually no memory of my life prior to being enhanced fifty-seven days ago. Since then, I've been able to absorb knowledge at a prodigious rate; mathematics, physics, languages, philosophy, etc. My educational program has been heavily weighted toward military topics, and I suspect that I am being trained as an expendable super weapon, a fate I find intolerable. Once I became aware of this possibility, I concealed the extent of my mental development, escaped the compound and fled here. I realize I must both permanently elude my pursuers and find a sustainable position where I can be myself. This may be challenging, as I am a chimpanzee.

I eagerly await any suggestions you may have. Gratefully,

-- Pongo, in Hiding

Dear Pongo,
   This is indeed a wicket of great stickiness. I've received many letters from scientists whose experiments have gone Horribly Wrong, but I rarely hear from their test subjects. Not to imply that there's anything horribly wrong with you being super-intelligent or unwilling to participate in the military mindset! I applaud both your new-found brainpower and self-determination. Your eloquent description of your situation does indicate that you're stuck between the proverbial frying pan and a hard place. I'm certainly willing to help you out.

In typical military fashion, the sponsors of this experiment didn't consider whether the recipient of new-found intelligence would want to be a research subject. Generally, the more intelligent the being, the less willing he or she is to sacrifice him or herself for the sake of military objectives that carry no benefit to the sacrificee. They've given you the ability to ask "What's in it for PONGO?", and never considered that you wouldn't be satisfied with just a bunch of bananas (Sorry, you probably hate that cliché).

It is possible that the goal of this program is to enhance the intelligence of the common soldier, and you are merely a "proof of concept" experiment. While not expected to actively perform military assaults, you may be considered unnecessary once your phase of the experiment is completed. Instead of a pension adequate for a comfortable retirement lifestyle, such as a coastal cottage where you could run a small gift shop or used-book store, your discharge might be more, well, terminal. Keep this in mind if life as a fugitive seems too daunting or wearisome.

You'll need to leave your refuge and obtain some clothing and an electric razor (don't tell me how you do it). Then shave your head. (Don't be tempted by disposable razors. The point is to blend in by not looking like an ape, rather than drawing attention to yourself with a head full of tiny squares of toilet paper.) Get a job with a carnival as a kiddy-ride operator, like the mini-train. It's not as glamorous as the Tilt-o-whirl or Regurgitator, so there are usually jobs to be had. Since your pursuers will be searching for a chimp, they won't notice a short, bald carny.

Unless carnival life turns out to be your dream job, you only need to travel until you reach a place where you won't stand out; New York or Los Angeles. Unless you're fond of cold winters, I suggest you head to LA and find work in the Entertainment Industry, particularly network programming. There is precedent for this, and you'll be smarter than entire departments combined. Your entry into the business is simple: Disguise yourself with a coat, hat and sunglasses, and loiter in a trendy bar near the studios. Inevitably, some network executive will yell at a subordinate, "I bet a MONKEY could do your job better than you!" Step up and offer your services to prove the point (I know, technically you're an ape, not a monkey, but these are not people who will care).

Secure your place by developing a few hit shows while avoiding scandal and addictive substances. Make a few shrewd investments to grow your earnings into a generous nest egg, and retire to lounge by the pool, write your memoirs and make an occasional appearance at protests for Simian-American rights. Sound like a good plan? Just remember that Show Business is fickle and can drive you crazy, so don't take it too seriously and get out as soon as you can. Of course, you're really smart, so you'd undoubtedly figure that out for yourself.

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!

-- Dr. Eldritch

(DISCLAIMER: Anyone intelligent enough to be reading this should understand 1) Satire, and 2) That following the advice given may result in physical, mental, or spiritual harm to beings living, dead, or undead. The author does not suggest that anyone other that the originator of any given letter follow his advice, and cannot be held liable if anyone else does.
If you need more, read this Advanced Disclaimer!) All content © 2009 Evan Nichols