Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Reprise: originally published in 2004]

New York City (AP) – After an unsuccessful two-year-long search for funds to support two more years of research and living expenses, a scientist and freelance writer has offered to fund her research by selling access to her internationally televised death by electrocution and by auctioning all body parts on ebay.

GrrlScientist, an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist, uses DNA to research the evolution and historical geographic movements of parrots among the islands of the south Pacific Ocean. These islands encompass a large area that includes the politically and seismically fragile country, Indonesia, popular vacation get-aways Tahiti and Fiji as well as Australia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Funds raised from advance sales of electrocution videos, projected pay-for-view television revenues and from pre-auctioned body parts that will be collected after death will be used to finance a two-year research trip to the islands of the south Pacific Ocean, where GrrlScientist’s research birds live. At the conclusion of this two-year research trip and after the resulting research papers have been published, GrrlScientist will be electrocuted on pay-for-view TV before all body parts are removed for redistribution to their respective purchasers.

Electrocution was chosen as a method to hasten death because it causes less tissue and organ damage than GrrlScientist’s preferred methods of death, either alcohol poisoning or a sedative overdose. Unfortunately for excited pay-for-view TV executives, GrrlScientist expressed revulsion at beheading, another method of death that minimizes tissue and organ damage. Pay-for-view TV executives suggested beheading after market research predicted it would generate greater revenues than electrocution, particularly in view of the runaway internet popularity of Iraqi-hostage beheading videos.

After death, the process of organ removal will commence immediately and this process will be widely available on pay-for-view TV and can also be purchased as teaching videos. Already, these videos have generated great interest among medical and forensic schools throughout America and Europe, and the Lions’ Eye Bank has reportedly purchased the eyeball removal segment. Lions’ Eye Bank representatives were unavailable for comment.

GrrlScientist sent out more than 300 application packages throughout the world during the past 378 days in response to publically advertized academic, research and postdoctoral fellowship positions at well-known universities and research organizations. These application packages consisted of a cover letter, Curriculum Vitae or “CV”, statements of Research Objectives and Teaching Philosophy and two or three letters of recommendation, one from each of GrrlScientist’s academic advisors. To date, only 7.8% of GrrlScientist’s applications generated a response of any type. This lack of response puzzles other scientists in the field.

“GrrlScientist’s CV looks fine. It clearly shows her wide range of skills and experiences that make her a valuable member of the scientific research community,” commented one source, who wishes to remain anonymous. When asked if the source’s organization would offer GrrlScientist a position, the source responded with; “GrrlScientist applied to our institution several times for postdocs [postdoctoral fellowships] but they were not awarded to her because of internal politics, nothing more, nothing less.”

“GrrlScientist’s work is very important,” states a highly-placed source who agreed to an interview under the condition of anonymity. “A lot of money has been invested into her research for this reason.”

Six months after starting the original unsuccessful job search, GrrlScientist expanded her job search to include “anything, I was even rejected, rather rudely, might I add, by my neighborhood McDonald’s to be a french fry chef. This is simply incredible because I’ve worked in fast food before.”

GrrlScientist worked for McDonald’s chief competitor, Burger King, for six months in 1981. She worked in all the various capacities, from hamburger construction worker to french fry chef, and she even collected customer money in exchange for food items.

The manager for GrrlScientist’s neighborhood McDonald’s wisely refused to comment.

“I haven’t had even one interview,” reports GrrlScientist. “Well, I did get one interview to teach part-time for Princeton Review, but I bombed that because I forgot how to tie my shoes.”

Princeton Review is a popular college test preparation agency. They require each interviewee to teach a 5-minute lesson on a topic suggested by the interview panel or on a topic of the interviewee’s choice. The suggested topic for GrrlScientist’s interview was a lesson on tying shoelaces.

“I was asked to interview for another job at a sperm donation facility in Westchester,” continued GrrlScientist. “But I turned them down because I was not interested in a minimum wage job as a professional fluffer, especially since they refused to pay my commuting costs, but instead demanded that I relocate there.”

After September 2004, GrrlScientist joined the growing ranks of the “virtually unemployable”. The “virtually unemployable” category is a recent federal government classification for Americans who are incapable of being hired or keeping a paying job longer than 2 years. Generally, the “virtually unemployable” category includes individuals with IQs of less than 70, the criminally insane and comatose medical patients. GrrlScientist was awarded her PhD in 2002 at [elided] and has conducted research on the speciation of parrots at [elided] as a Postdoctoral Fellow since September, 2002. She was the first PhD to be added to this new job category.


  1. #1 Sigmund
    September 7, 2009

    Rumor has it that my local McDonalds still has tenure track positions available.
    (Isn’t tenure simply another name for a permanent job? Being a scientist I’ve never seen one of these so I’m not quite sure…)

  2. #2 WikiWakkiWoo
    September 7, 2009

    “She was the first PhD to be added to this new job category.”

    I’ll bet there are plenty more since this article blog was first posted.

  3. #3 Max
    September 8, 2009

    The marketplace is a funny thing. I would have nominated myself for the title of virtually unemployable long before yourself. And yet I’ve managed to find something after only 2 months. Not enough to get myself a place to stay yet, but it’s a start. Maybe it’s because I’d applied for far more shit jobs (the birthday “paradox” applied).

  4. #4 ELR
    September 8, 2009

    So only 1 out of 3 potential postdoc supervisors I’ve applied to so far has bothered to respond at all, and has since ignored my attempts at setting up an actual day and time to meet. After looking at this though, does that mean I’m actually not doing too badly?

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