My older sister, Elaine, is a scientist; she always has been. When we were younger for my birthday I would ask for toys, G.I. Joe stuff, bicycles, etc. She asked for chemistry sets or a microscope. I would play baseball on the grass or swim in a lake or ocean. She would examine cell structure or the little microbes swimming around in it. After a while I became somewhat jealous of her. My parents would tell of the keen intelligent mind she had and how her hard work paid off in good grades. I on the other hand, if they gave out awards for class clown or trouble maker, would surely have won them hands down.
When I entered high school I decided to change the pattern for my parents’ approval. My first year I entered the Science Fair. My project was the result watching too many science fiction movies (I still do). I would get two dozen fertile chicken eggs, expose one dozen to gamma radiation (X-rays) and the other dozen were to be my control group.
My father was thrilled to help me out thinking I had given up my evil ways. He made an incubator for me consisting of a wooden box lined with aluminum paper. It had two holes in it, in which we placed light bulbs for heat. Then he drove me to somewhere in New Jersey to a poultry farm to get the eggs. I took the eggs to a hospital to be X-rayed. The tech thought I was nuts and explained the effects of the X-ray may not be noticeable from the outside – blindness, different size internal organs, density of feathers, etc., if any. But I insisted and he did it. I then proceeded to crack open one of each sample group every week suspend them in formaldehyde and display them in my mother’s spice jars.
When the judging came no differences could be found. No chickens with 3 heads or 6 wings and certainly no Godzilla. I went home empty-handed. This was only school wide. Needless to say, I was not invited to the city wide or state fairs.
So ended my career in science. I went back to being the cut-up everybody liked to laugh at while all the time being happy it wasn’t them.