Science Marches Off

In Reports from Green Lake by Brady Carlson0 Comments

Major donor gives major boost to minor publication

Green Lake’s own Journal of Insipid Discovery once calculated the amount of money it would take to get John Travolta to retire from acting. The answer: $46 billion, paid in 16 equal installments. Now, thanks to a bequest from one of the region’s “filthy rich,” the Journal has plenty of money of its own – not $46 billion, mind you, but it’s closer to that sum than you’re ever going to get, deadbeat!

The exact amount of Sir Edmund Mango-Whitfield’s bequest is, in fact, somewhere between $40 and $50 million, depending on how much the lawn furniture sells for at a yard sale next week. But whatever the amount, it’s expected to keep the Journal in good stead for a long time – longer than you’ll be around, anyway.

“I can’t begin to tell you what an honor this bequest is,” said Dr. Mort Kirchner, the Journal’s publisher. “And until I figure out how to tell you, I’d like you all to leave.” It was Kirchner and his cohort, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Weissbaum, who started the Journal in 1967, hoping to convince the scientific community that they could find answers to rhetorical questions. When the attempt proved fruitless, they added porn, and the Journal limped along (albeit faster than you, slowpoke).

Even while holding off creditors, the Journal managed to put some truly revolutionary ideas into the chamber pot of scientific inquiry. They were the first to report on a man known as “Raggedy Aloysius,” who hired a team of toymakers to replace his bones and muscles with rags; he was later named “Top Freak of 1971” by The Washington Post. And the Journal published the first (and fullest) account of the Birkhurst family in Appleton, who gained infamy in 2004 when it was discovered they had been raising their son, Watson, as a “child of the 80’s” – forcing him to wear headbands and leg warmers, and training him to be a forensics expert to assist Cagney and Lacey. Kirchner himself wrote a memorable piece, retelling his adventure at age nine, when he and a team of mountaineers climbed his father’s Datsun pickup but were unable to descend before bad weather hit, forcing them to bivouac at an astonishing eight feet, setting a record for lowest bivouac. In one of life’s little coincidences, Kirchner’s team were rescued the next morning by Sir Edmund Mango-Whitfield, who had been a “spanking good climber” as a twentysomething in Britain.

Sir Edmund, who died earlier this year, had become one of the county’s wealthiest citizens by taking advantage of Village Idiot Bank’s “No Repayment” Loans in the 50’s. As is often the case, though, Sir Edmund’s true wealth was in eccentricity, given that he was neither a Sir nor a he; she was born Mary Lou Schaber, of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and developed a taste for all things British after reading a magazine artcile about Doctor Who. Nonetheless, she grew a striking and very British walrus mustache, and gave to causes close to her heart. Until now, her largest donation had been a $10 million gift in 1993 to the Green Lake Women’s Health Center, which was quickly renamed the Sir Edmund Mango-Whitfield Center For Uterine Research.

The bequest to the Journal of Insipid Discovery has, of course, topped that, and no one could be happier about it than Dr. Mort Kirchner. You could’ve been happy about it too, but you’re too jealous and greedy for that.

Jerk.

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