rabbit experiments

Somewhere in elementary school or junior high or something we were all taught the scientific method. We were told that it was the fundamental building block of our industrialized society (as in, Hey kids: Screw democracy! It's those guys in the lab coats and beakers you want to pattern yourselves after). We were told that without the scientific method, any thought processes we attempted would fizzle out in a puff of illogic. I don't remember what grade we were in but I certainly remember the teacher. He had eyes like tiny blue stones set in a broad sweaty face. The shine on his cheeks and forehead radiated a kind of healthy vigour and hinted at joviality and teachers' lounge camaraderie. But the eyes were insane. Have you ever seen pupils that seemed clenched down to their circumference? So it is that I remember the scientific method by the pinholes of my teacher's eyes.

As it turned out, I never really made use of the scientific method, excepting the experiments in Owl Magazine, which were more a matter of following instructions with due care. It seemed that the scientific method, that executive mode of rationalism and independence, was nearly inapplicable to the deeply irrational and intuitive world in which I lived. Science classes and courses certainly never encouraged use of the scientific method, although they praised it unceasingly; whatever experiments we conducted were long since proven, the results recorded and set down in textbooks, and if our class results deviated from the teacher's expectations, we had simply made a mistake somewhere.

I suppose that if I had continued to take science courses in university (beyond all that introductory geology and biology) I suppose that one day I would have been issued my own lab coat and beaker and sent off to a clean well-lit lab to make observations, form hypotheses based on those observations, and then conduct easily reproducable experiments to test my hypothesis and arrive at a theory. Didn't Tom Swift do this kind of crap all the time? It occurs to me that the scientific method has become a lost art, a resource that has receded from mankind's memory. Why this has happened, I can't say. Whether our humours are unbalanced, or we have forgotten our place in the Chain of Being here on the cislunar plane, the fact remains that the scientific method is a precious resource.

Luckily for me, you, and wealthy investors, I've recently decided to chuck my job and apply the scientific method to everything I can think of until one of the applications produces loads of easy cash. I'm starting small here, but I expect promising returns on:

Application #1: Gordon the Rabbit

Context: Gordon is our pet rabbit, a glossy grey mixture of escaped lab rabbit and wild jackrabbit. We found him on the university grounds last September, the only survivor of a litter that had been harvested by the local Humane Society. He is lively but tends toward stoicism. We call him G for short, or Mr. Gordon, or simply The Gordon. But there is so much about him (or her) that we still don't know, which is where the scientific method comes in.

Observation: Gordon's fur is usually an even shiny blue-grey colour. It's fetching. Over the last week and a half, though, he's suddenly developed symmetrical patches of light grey on his back, sides and muzzle.

Hypothesis: Gordon is a Rorschach card.

Supporting evidence: The symmetrical blotches or patches are consistent with the peculiar patterns found in Rorschach sets. Plus, Rorschach tests are often found in the presence of mentally disturbed people, and this apartment building is full of Halidol shufflers, Lithium strollers and Paxil striders.

Contraindications: I don't see any licensed psychotherapists around to administer the tests, but they may be on vacation at the moment. It's possible that I or The Lotus may be psychotherapists with poor memories. It's even possible that Gordon is both psychotherapist and Rorschach test. That's right: like Queequeg, he may have tatooed a test onto his own skin. Unlike Queequeg, he probably did it to cut down on overhead. This would also explain why Gordon isn't flat like your average Rorschach card.

Experiment: Really, there's only one way to confirm my hypothesis, and that is to book an appointment with Gordon at his earliest convenience and see if he administers a Rorschach test with his own body. Note that this experiment rests on the assumption that Gordon is a licensed practicing psychotherapist in our province (I imagine he stores the license under his shavings somewhere). Under normal circumstances I would apply Ockham's razor to cut away unnecessary assumptions, but I don't want to shave the rabbit accidentally and thereby destroy the entire experiment.

Results: My initial appointment with Gordon yielded some promising results. I discovered that my difficulties in life, my tendency towards self-sabotage, my uncanny ability to make decisions that steer me away from fulfillment, stem from a lack of self-actualization. I also discovered that my mother never loved me and that, as i suspected, I spent much of my childhood in a Satanic ritual abuse cult. Thanks to Gordon and his quiet non-judgemental technique, I feel empowered, actualized, refreshed, and I've got a prescription for Effexor in my back pocket. Plus his fees consist of fresh water, rabbit pellets and an occasional scratch behind the ears.

The Rorschach hypothesis, however, was difficult to prove. Depending on the angle of light, the patterns either stand out brilliantly or fade into near-invisibility. Reading the patterns became impossible when he moved into his box and stayed there for the rest of the session.

Theory: Although is not possible to conclude at this point whether Gordon is a Rorschach card, I do know that we are lucky to be living with an animal that can write prescriptions.

More experiments forthcoming.