NSF = Not So Fucked, Afterall
Frank would hear other stories about my experiences in science as I grew older and classes more advanced. How, for instance, in 10th grade at the science fair in our school: Martha was one of my class members ... the family cat had died and Martha had stuffed it and presented it on exhibit at the science fair. Which is pretty strange by anybody's standards, don't you think, (but when it wasn't at the science fair, she'd install it on the mantlepiece of the family home, and they didn't think this at all odd, and actually kind of liked it). And we'd laugh about that, Frank and I. And I would be steaming about Ruth, daughter of a physics professor, who was awarded all the damn NSF fellowships and goddamn everything, she won every kind of science award, and she'd be sent off to an Eastern school to study high math on a full scholarship. Gussy! Who could forget Gussy? She was smart in math, too, and had natural hair and haircut that resembled that of the Bride of Frankenstein (after she was electrocuted and brought to life, that is). And as my career in "science" advanced (which wasn't far, because my math was Shite! since I was beaten over the head with a baseball bat when I was a kid by the fucking dumb redneck) and I was working someplace far away, people would send me notices to collect signatures so that an asteroid could be named after Frank (and I wouldn't sign because I was mad at Frank still). But I'd heard a by-the-way from someone that Ruth who had with great government and taxpayer expense become a pretty good software code writer back East by then had completely fallen asunder because someone had introduced her to "wine" (and Claremont was a dry town when we both were growing up, she probably should have stayed there) and she'd become an alcoholic street person (much like the street weirdo I would encounter at the transfer busstop on my way to work, the one who wore a raincoat and kept her parrots in her pockets) so I'd share that story with the guy who built the "submillimeter telescope" and say, "There but for the grace of God go I" and he would show up at the Halloween party dressed as an alcoholic bag lady. And we'd laugh like hell. But then the "submillimeter telescope guy" would act up in other ways, and encourage grad students to dress up in capes and perform a song in the science institute's talent show, all designed to further ostracize a weird grad student as a form of advanced institutional bullying, and I'd realize nothing too much had changed anywhere along the way in all those intervening years.