Eutychus Associates had just finished setting up a task force on teaching machines and programmed learning when the whole thing was undercut by worms. Our research consultant who reads the newsmagazines now informs us that teaching machines have been up-staged by RNA. That’s where the worms come in.

RNA is ribonucleic acid, a chemical alleged to be in short supply among elder folks who forget where they put their glasses, but said to be abundant in educated flatworms. According to the article, injections of artificial RNA improved the memory of the oldsters. The worms enjoyed their RNA raw. Unconditioned flatworms were given a diet of other flatworms who had been trained to react to a flashing light. Eating this educated meat enabled them to learn the same trick twice as fast as worms who ate only the usual underprivileged fish bait.

If faulty memory makes you lose job opportunities, if you forget the boss’s name when you’re asking for a raise, if nobody loves you—then go out to the lab and eat worms. You may then thrill to a new skill, and cringe like a worm whenever a light is turned on.

Wait till the breakfast food people get this. We can expect brands like TOTAL RECALL and DOUBLECHECKS, perhaps even SHREDDED WORMS.

But suppose you want to be smarter than the average worm. Can digestible data be stored on tapeworms? Or must our diet include something a bit brighter? One scientist is credited with a flight of fancy. If memory is edible, he reasons, why waste all the knowledge a distinguished professor has accumulated at retirement age?

Should we assume that he is describing 1984, or joking? At any rate, absent-minded professors are safe. The Ph. D. may remain, but the RNA is exhausted.

Before you invest in RNA chemicals, ...

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