Saturday, June 4, 2011

I'm Not "Mr. Apocalypse." I'm "Dr. Apocalypse."

I'm sorry. I don't mean to nit-pick. But it's "Dr. Apocalypse." Not "Mister." It's been awhile since I defended my dissertation, and I am a PhD. I need you to address me properly. I know we're mortal enemies. That's no reason to be rude.

No, I'm not breaking my Hippocratic Oath with this radiation device. I'm not a medical doctor. My degree is in Sociology. Yes that means I'm a real doctor. Do you understand the kind of coursework they require at Stony Brook? It's one of the top programs in the country. I don't need to listen to some ignorant musclehead who thinks he's the expert on everything just because he invented a power suit. You hard sciences people are all the same. You have no appreciation for the humanities. My paper on urban cultural systems was published in Contexts back when I was an undergrad at Vassar. Do you even know what that means? I'll tell you what: It means when I inject laughing toxin into a city reservoir I do it right, goddammit.

You wouldn't believe the kind of determination it took to get this degree. I spent three years in a dim, unventilated cubicle in Charlottesville-fucking-Virginia reading footnotes till my eyes bled and arguing with some spoiled redneck about why he got a C- on a paper he clearly wrote the night before about Radiohead lyrics. That was just for my Masters. You can't comprehend the kind of hell I've been through! After my henchmen subdue you and chain you up in my lair you're going to listen to me read all 50,000 words of my paper on normative patterns in criminal justice until you understand every single one of them.

I don't mean to lose control. But people outside academia have no idea of the pressure involved. Dr. Doom, Dr. Octopus, Dr. No... Haven't you ever noticed how many PhDs turn to the dark side? The tenure track is excruciating. You start out fresh-faced and naive... You want to connect people and teach inner city kids about positivism. By the end you're blowing up an Olympic village and threatening the UN Security Council. But what else am I going to do? Huh? I've seen what it would take to get a permanent post at a halfway decent university. I'd be a serf for some department chair somewhere. I'd be living in airport Marriotts trying to hit the half dozen conferences a year just so those Review hacks know me. That's not a life. So I made my choice: I'm going to use my degree for a career in professional evil. It's just a better fit for me.

But I'm still a doctor. I earned this title, and I want you to respect it... You only have 30 seconds left before the paralysis venom takes effect. You can do that much.

A Formative Experience

When I was a young boy, I broke a friend’s toy gun trying to fire clogs of dirt from it. I realized I didn’t want to keep this from my mom -- I did not want to lie or hide it from her. I also realized my mom might be angry at me. My solution was simple. I waited.

I planned to tell her when the infraction had occurred “a long time ago.” This may have just been a week after it happened. I had a different sense of time then. The important thing is that when I finally did make my confession I could be completely honest:

“Mom, I broke a friend’s toy gun.”
Paul...” mom says, almost angry.
“But it happened a long time ago!"
“Oh." Silence.

It was then that I learned that being well-organized is a good substitute for morality.

The Cellar -- A Short Film By Fewdio

It's a vampire film. It's actually kind of disturbing. Huh.
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