Early Short Stories

 


Stroke of Genius

Intelligence and creativity are based on the presence or absence of facial hair. In the absence of facial hair, the length of the personís hair becomes the determinant. A team of independent researchers makes this surprising assertion after what the team describes as an exhaustive investigation into the subject.  Equally surprising, although somewhat obvious after the initial premise is accepted, is the corollary conclusion put forth by this previously un-remarked team: the length of a person's hair is an important predictor of intelligence.

The team shuns notoriety claiming they performed this research for science's sake and not for personal gain.  Consequently, they decline all interviews opting instead to disclose their findings through this innocuous article.   In fact, the sum total of their data - as well as their data sources - reflects a remarkable anonymity throughout.

The team began its investigation in October 1994.  Struck by the idea that men sporting facial hair seem constitutionally unable to refrain from twirling, caressing, and stroking this hair, the team's initial thought was to discover why this might be so.  In defining the parameters of the research they were contemplating, a team member pointed out that, to be politically correct, women could not be excluded from any serious research.  This turned out to be not a problem as researchers quickly realized that there seemed to be a corollary operating: The longer a women's hair, the more apt that woman was to engage in the same obsessive behavior.

An initial hypothesis proffered by the team was that this behavior almost always manifests when a subject is engaged in serious mental activity.  Thousands of case studies were accumulated to examine this hypothesis.  In the interest of not overwhelming the reader with inordinate detail, the following examples were selected by the author as typical:

CASE STUDY #         

SUBJECT:         

AGE:  

FACIAL HAIR:        

HAIR LENGTH:        

BEHAVIOR SETTING:        

TIME OF BEHAVIOR:        

BEHAVIOR:   

204

Male   

23    

Mustache

 Two weeks overdue for haircut

Friday night happy hour

Early evening

While making initial contact with a young woman, subject was engaged in Standard social discourse.  Searching for words to impress the woman, subject twirled the ends of his mustache.

CASE STUDY #         

SUBJECT:         

AGE:  

FACIAL HAIR:        

HAIR LENGTH:        

BEHAVIOR SETTING:     

TIME OF BEHAVIOR:     

BEHAVIOR:   

168

Female 

19     

None

Shoulder length with spit curls to jaw line

Fashionable department store

@ 2:30 PM

While considering purchase of exiotic perfume, subject twirled the ends of the right-side spit curl.

CASE STUDY #         

SUBJECT:         

AGE:  

FACIAL HAIR:        

HAIR LENGTH:        

BEHAVIOR SETTING:     

TIME OF BEHAVIOR:     

BEHAVIOR:   

792

Male         

37      

Beard & mustache

Worn at three-inch length

Workplace: construction site

 @ 8:30 AM

 While receiving a caustic reprimand from a much younger foreman, searching for the serenity to refrain from decking the twerp, subject engaged in caressing chin portion of his beard.

From these examples, researchers were able to postulate a common denominator: each subject was engaged in an intense mental activity.  The subjects' concentration and effectiveness seemed to be enhanced by the contact with facial hair though the subjects themselves were oblivious to their self-enhancement routine.  This suggested to the researchers that facial hair must somehow be an integral facet of intelligence and creativity.  Given this radical train of thought, the team decided to search for historical substantiating data.  Independently nominated candidates produced several categories of historical figures:

Philosophical                    

Solomon                               

Socrates                     

Plato                               

Descartes                         

Kant                                  

                                       

Religious  

Jesus  

 Mohammed  

Zoroaster

Buddha  

Lao-tze

Confucius

Arts & Letters

Michaelango

Shakespeare

 Twain

 Franklin

 Beethoven

Mozart

While not all-inclusive and certainly reflective of the prejudices of the research team, what strikes one about this listing is the preponderance of facial hair.  Initially, the team was bothered by the inclusion of the Buddha as modern representations tend to depict this sage as clean-shaven but the team rationalized that, as was customary in that day and age, the Buddha probably wore a beard as a youth.  Having attained enlightenment, it was permissible to shave. 

The team was further disturbed by the absence of women on their lists.  After all, the ancient Greeks had ascribed theocratic wisdom to Athena; Arabia has the tradition of the wise and brave Scheherazade; and in the United States, Pocahontas is a premiere example of statesmanship (the team felt this should probably be rendered as statespersonship).  No explanation for the relative paucity of ancient female intellectuals was immediately available so the team has set the question aside for further research.

However, given the extent of the list as they had developed it, the team determined they had established a solid historical base for their thesis.   The overwhelming evidence seemed to argue that all the great minds of history were blessed with an abundance of facial hair.  So convincing was their data that one evening as they relaxed from their daily exertions over a pitcher or two of beer, the team was dumb-struck by the notion of how the world might have developed if the straight razor had been invented three millennium earlier. 

Excited at the implications of their initial findings, the team continued the search for historical supporting data.  Remarkably, they were able to identify historical precedents in unusual places.  Once again, examples serve to illustrate the point.

PRECEDENT:

TME FRAME::

INSTANTIATION

#836

Late 1960s, Early 1970s

Bearded Navy Pilots outperform beardless Air Force Pilots

PRECEDENT:

TME FRAME::

INSTANTIATION

#821

Late 1960s, Early 1970s

Longhaired hippies achieve higher GPAs than Ivy League counterparts

PRECEDENT:

TME FRAME::

INSTANTIATION

#333

Late 1700s

all signers of the U.S.A. Declaration of Independence sport sideburns, mustaches  and/or beards

PRECEDENT:

TME FRAME::

INSTANTIATION

#458

1950s - 1960s

Charleton Heston is much more intelligent as Moses in The Ten Commandments than as the detective in Soylent Green

PRECEDENT:

TME FRAME::

INSTANTIATION

#459

1950s - 1960s

Yul Brynner is much more intelligent as Jean LaFitte in The Buccaneer than  as the Pharoah in The Ten Commandments.  His role in The King and I remains an anomaly.

PRECEDENT:

TME FRAME::

INSTANTIATION

#937

1990s

Kirstie Alley is much more intelligent on Cheers than as a Vulcan in her Star Trek movie debut.

The team distributed questionnaires through the society seeking to expand the data set supporting their theorem.  Again, a sample of responses obtained is sufficient to demonstrate the quality as well as the consistency of their findings:

AFFIDAVIT PROVIDED BY:

A Mr. *.*, CEO of *.*, a Fortune 100 Company, November 27, 1999.

In the course of our application for the Malcolm Baldridge Award for Quality, my company embarked in some heavy duty benchmarking.  To establish our benchmark, we solicited data from those companies, which precede us on the Fortune 100 listing.

A detailed comparison of like processes revealed we were equal to or better than each of these companies in the implementation of a given process.   Since they outrank us on the listing, there had to be an explanation.

We sent interview teams to each of the target companies.  We compared notes for weeks, each company as interested as we were in what made the difference.  In the end, the only significant difference we could discover was that the truly remarkable companies' CEOs all wore beards, with the exception of the company immediately above us.  The CEO of that company wore a mustache.

In light of the above, it is with great chagrin that I admit I am clean-shaven and bald.

 

AFFIDAVIT PROVIDED BY

Prof. *.*, Professor of History, Yale University, November 16, 1999.

My students and I have been establishing criteria for effective presidents.  While many would view an effective presidency as that which accomplished its premise platform, my students were of a mind to look for efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Government as over-riding criteria.

Surprisingly, when this criteria is applied, the last truly effective President of the United States was William Howard Taft, the first president ever to suggest the Government operate according to a budget.  The enormity of this proposal and the implications it carried for the burgeoning Federal Government earned him the enmity of the Roosevelt clan and thus guaranteed his defeat when seeking re-election.

RESEARCH TEAM'S NOTE:

 Taft was the last President to sport a mustache.  

 

AFFIDAVIT PROVIDED BY

Prof. *.*, Professor of Contemporary Politics, Stanford University, November 11, 1999

While examining the impact of television on politics in the United States, my students and I stumbled onto a little discussed aspect of Richard M. Nixon's political life.  Where he was originally an astute and aggressive lawyer, in his later years he was less and less so.

We believe we have physical evidence in photographs and videotapes that demonstrate the more advanced his hair loss, the more outrageous his thinking.  As you can see in Exhibit #1, a young Nixon...

 

The team decided experimental evidence was mandatory. To acquire this data, the team designed a placebo.  The team obtained a swatch of hair from a discarded wig taken from the personal effects of a team member's uncle. Using super glue, they secured this swatch in a plastic cap of the type used by electricians for covering and protecting mated, twisted wiring.  They allowed the to extend two inches past the end of the cap and affixed the device to a key chain.  They constructed four such placebos.

Standing outside the gymnasium of a local high school, the team randomly selected four students, two boys and two girls, about to enter the gymnasium to take a semester final exam in Algebra.  The students were selected on the basis of hair length.  The boys wore crew cuts and were either clean shaven or had yet to achieve an age where beards and mustaches were feasible.  The girls were also clean-shaven and wore their hair cut extremely short for this day and age.

The team instructed the test group to fondle, caress, and otherwise play with the placebo while taking the test. No other explanatory information was provided the test group.

As expected, the test group achieved scores in the top ten of the class.  Of the four students who achieved higher scores, the team compiled the following data:

Student Ranking on Test

Physical Description

1

A female wearing her hair to mid-back length  1  

2

A male with sideburns and nascent mustache who had not shaved in two days  1

3

A short-haired female  2

4

A male student sporting a freshly-cut short hair style with no beard or mustache  3

Notes

1

2

3

The team viewed these students facial/hair length as confirming evidence.

Anomalous data

This student acquired the answers to the exam in a display of entrepreneurial acumen that enabled the Team to add his data to the confirming evidence.

The shorthaired female student remains an anomaly in the team's data.  Ultimately, the team conjectures their thesis, like Newtonian physics, is useful in a closed system but less useful in an open system.   What the limits to the facial hair system may be is under review.

Encouraged by the success of the experiment, the five-person team modified their own behavior.  The three men now sport beards and mustaches; the two women have allowed their hair to reach Crystal Gayle proportions.  Each of the researchers carries a copy of the placebo attached to their key chain and each makes use of its benefits.  While in no way offered as objective data and certainly not included as evidence in their report, the researchers believe they are much smarter and a lot more creative than they used to be.

The research team also elected to open a side business.  In a market where pet rocks and hula hoops  earn millions, the researchers believe the potential for a truly useful gimmick is unlimited.  They are in the preliminary negotiation stage with companies such as Whammo for the mass production of their placebo.  They plan to market the placebo under the product name: A Stroke of Genius.

 

End.

 

 

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