One of the greatest benefactors of all lifekind was a man who couldn't
keep his mind on the job in hand.
One of the foremost genetic engineers of his or any other generation,
including a number he had designed himself?
Without a doubt.
The problem was that he was far too interested in things which he
shouldn't be interested in, at least, as people would tell him, not
He was also, partly because of this, of a rather irritable
So when his world was threatened by terrible invaders from a distant
star, who were still a fair way off but travelling fast, he, Blart
Versenwald III (his name was Blart Versenwald III, which is not
strictly relevant, but quite interesting because never mind, that was
his name and we can talk about why it's interesting later), was sent
into guarded seclusion by the masters of his race with instructions to
design a breed of fanatical superwarriors to resist and vanquish the
feared invaders, do it quickly and, they told him, "Concentrate!"
So he sat by a window and looked out at a summer lawn and designed and
designed and designed, but inevitably got a little distracted by
things, and by the time the invaders were practically in orbit round
them, had come up with a remarkable new breed of super-fly that could,
unaided, figure out how to fly through the open half of a half-open
window, and also an offswitch for children. Celebrations of these
remarkable achievements seemed doomed to be shortlived because disaster
was imminent as the alien ships were landing. But astoundingly, the
fearsome invaders who, like most warlike races were only on the rampage
because they couldn't cope with things at home, were stunned by
Versenwald's extraordinary breakthroughs, joined in the celebrations
and were instantly prevailed upon to sign a wide-ranging series of
trading agreements and set up a programme of cultural exchanges. And,
in an astonishing reversal of normal practice in the conduct of such
matters, everybody concerned lived happily ever after.
There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the