I've always been suspicious of the Canadians. Seems to me it's just a matter of time before they invade our borders to get away from the mosquitoes and try to annex some real estate in the Sun Belt so Celine Dion has somewhere nice to retire to. More and more, however, I am beginning to think our Department of Homeland Security needs to start paying closer attention to the Europeans.
I've held a grudge against the British ever since the Spice Girls. But they have done us the favor of taking Madonna off our hands, so I suppose we're even. No, I'm talking about other suspicious behavior. Trying to ban pointy knives didn't help their case, but now a news article out of the New Zealand Herald sounds a cry of alarm to the rest of the world. The British are cloning an army. Of mutated mice.
The mice will be stored as frozen embryos, so that mutant mice can be supplied on demand.
Not for the people mutating the mice to study. For them to sell to researchers.
Not since the Beta VCR cassette or the "New" Coke has such a phenomenally stupid marketing idea been green lighted. Mutant mice for sale. Talk about taking a flaw and making it a "feature". This is like the clothing industry figuring out that if they take those shirts with the ugly patches on them and add a little hang tag that says, "Irregularities are part of the natural beauty of the fabric," that they can charge more for stuff that used to be destined for the seconds bin. This is like the "Miss Congeniality" award in the beauty pageant.
Two mouse breeders are talking. "That's, like, a way ugly mouse. Dude. We are not going to be able to sell this mouse."
"No, dude. Sell him as a feeder mouse."
"No way. No snake would eat that mouse. He's uglier than your mom before she shaves her forehead in the morning."
Suddenly, towards the end of the twenty-four-pack of beer, the mouse breeders are staring at the poor, homely mouse when inspiration strikes: "Duuuude, what if we, like, marketed it as a mutant mouse!"
"Hah, yeah, it could be like Star Wars where they had the mutant armies and stuff!"
"Dude, those were clones, not mutants."
"Omigod, dude, we'll clone mutant mice!"
The European Union has set aside $23 million to reach the goal of having mutant mice available on demand. They want to create a library of mutant mice, with a representative having each gene knocked out of the mouse genome.
France nixed a European Union constitution, but spending $23 million on frozen, defective mice -- not to study, mind you, but to have on hand just in case someone wants to study them -- somehow got passed right through. Why does this make me wonder if one of Kofi Annan's nephews is a mouse breeder?
"Dude, this is hella sweet," snicker a set of mouse-making grad students in Amsterdam. "Look, we made a mouse with no butt."
Sure. Sweet. Until a mutated mouse catches a common disease. Then we have defective mice with never-before-seen diseases that spread virulently through mankind and wipe out half of Europe. (Haven't they learned their lesson about rodents and plagues yet?) Worse still, we get mice straight out of Marvel Comics. Mice with telekinetic powers. Mice with laser beam eyes. You think a glue trap is going to take care of those? Bah! The only answer will be to genetically alter cats. And we all know the only reason cats don't consider humans to be prey animals is because a) it would take more than one cat to take a full grown human down and they hate working cooperatively and b) they don't know how to work can openers. When I was a youngster, I took one of my rag dolls and made it kick my cat in the hindquarters. She flattened her ears on the first kick, appraised the dolly carefully on the second kick, and then went for the throat and took it down on the third kick. It was like watching a miniature National Geographic special. I never made dolly kick the kitty again. Mutant cats with super-powers would not be pretty.
Let those fools in Britain make $23 million dollars worth of defective mice. Me? I'm dumping all my money into building a more complicated can opener.
Comments and can opener research grants to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in the August 14, 2005 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.