Monday, May 3, 2010

The Beginning of Bobby

In the Congo region of Africa lives a tribe of people known as the Bambuti. These people are classified as hunter-gatherers. The breakdown is 20/80; that is 20% of their food is from hunting and 80% is from gathering. Over the centuries, because of their more vegetative diet, the Bambuti tribe did not attain height in their development. The Bambuti are pygmies. Their total population is around thirty-five thousand, but they live separated in small bands of 15 to 50 individuals each.

In 1984, a group of French anthropologists were finishing a five year study of the Bambuti social structure, when one of the female pygmies gave birth to a two-headed baby. The mother did not survive the childbirth. Her tribe looked at the birth as an angry message from the gods of the rain forest. They believed that they had displeased the gods by allowing the French scientists access to their band of people. They forced the French to take the newborn and escorted them out of the jungle.

The French did not mind this. Their study was complete and now they had a live freak of nature with which to start another study. This time in a controlled environment. They returned to France and converted one of the labs at "L'Institut d'Etudes Tribales" (The Institute of Tribal Studies) into a baby room and day care unit. They named the two-headed baby boy Bobby in honor of one their biggest benefactors, an American Texas Billionaire named Bronco Bob Benson. Bronco Bob did not know about the French using his name for several years. He had become furious when he found out. Bronco Bob did not like being so closely associated with the pygmy boy. He arranged to have the three year old taken out of the Institute and put into a Himalayan monastery.

Little did Bronco Bob realize, but his use of the phrase "Damn straight" would be the only learning that the left head of Bobby would ever attain. Bronco Bob was notorious for his use of the expression. He never would answer a question with "Yes," he would always say "Damn straight" instead. "Care for another cocktail, Mr. Benson?" "Damn straight," he'd reply. Then the left head of Bobby would echo, "Damn straight." After Bronco Bob had left the young tot at the monastery, (He did this himself to be certain it was done right) the left head of Bobby no longer had to hear Bronco Bob in order to say the phrase. Anytime someone would speak, the left of Bobby would say, "Damn straight!"

The right head of Bobby had picked up quite a vocabulary in French. He was a genius of sorts, although the scientists had all assumed wrongly that the right head was an idiot savant. Within the week of being relocated by Bronco Bob, he had picked up a limited English vocabulary. This would come in handy at the monastery. The monks would mostly speak Himalayan with the exception of Brother Peterson, who was originally from the United States. Brother Peterson spoke both Himalayan and English fluently, but with Bobby, he only spoke English. Brother Peterson could have spoke Himalayan to Bobby. Bobby learned a rudimentary Himalayan language within hours of his arrival at the monastery. As Bobby aged, Brother Peterson would tell Bobby the wonders of America. He was careful never to mention the greed and desire for the Americans to own more possessions than their neighbors. This was why Brother Peterson forsaken all his material properties and became a Himalayan Monk. No, instead of the dog eat dog way of life the majority of Americans lived, he concentrated his teachings to Bobby of the amazing places across the great land; the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Mammoth Caves, Old Faithful, the Petrified Forest, and hundreds of other scenic wonders. The right head of Bobby absorbed every detail with fascination. In the midst of every tale, the left head of Bobby would chirp in, "Damn straight!"

Bobby's right head was a sponge for learning. He was reading and speaking five languages coherently by the time he turned five. On his sixth birthday, he was given a plot of land to till and raise tomato plants. He grew the biggest, tastiest tomatoes that the monastery ever produced. His secret was that when he felt the need for a bowel movement, he would dig a hole between two of his plants, defecate, and bury the feces. This was his secret fertilizer, and he managed to keep the secret safe.

(More on Bobby another time. I am falling asleep at the keyboard.)

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