GRIMACE: What am I?
GENETICIST: That is a very interesting question indeed. And we should begin by briefly discussing your known history. According to your records, you were born as “Evil Grimace,” with four deft arms, and a penchant for amusing yourself by stealing milkshakes from small children. Then, in 1974, you experienced a change of heart, a loss of two arms, and a metamorphosis into what is your current incarnation—a supposedly warm, gentle, and seemingly living representation of the “embodiment of childhood.”
GRIMACE: Is that why I have only one orifice?
GENETICIST: Perhaps so, as childhood is a period marked by the most basic of bodily functions. In truth, it is that kind of interesting nuance that makes me suspect your being a genetically modified organism. Furthermore, the timing of your appearance coincides perfectly with a social phenomenon during the ’70s. A time when discussing human cloning was culturally fashionable, when books like The Boys From Brazil and In His Image appeared on bestseller lists.
Also, you are purple like a giant areola.
GRIMACE: How can I find out more?
GENETICIST: A promising course of action is to try genetic counseling. Which, in the conventional sense, suggests that we investigate your network, both in family and in friendship. This is to help construct a more complete picture of your being and, more importantly, your past. From this, we will have a firm starting point from which to build.
GRIMACE: But I have no family, no real friends, and Ronald, frankly, scares me. What other alternatives do I have?
GENETICIST: Ronald scares us, too, but that is for another interview. Under those restrictive circumstances, one possible alternative is to contact nonacquaintances with similar traits. Perhaps someone like Barney the Dinosaur, who is also big, purple, and waves a lot like an idiot. Similarly, we could simply forge ahead and arrange for a genetic test. This is a process that will allow us to peer at your very own genetic code, and is something that will surely resolve the mystery that surrounds you.
GRIMACE: Like why I am so popular with the ladies?
GENETICIST: Yes, exactly! In some respects, you could be the perfect metaphor for what is both wonderfully right and terribly wrong about genetic manipulation. Due to the marvels of this technology, you appear to have luxury, wealth, fame, as many women as you desire, and yet you have no identity, no origin. If ever there were such a thing, you are an organic black box.
GRIMACE: I think it’s because the ladies like my massive tongue.
GENETICIST: Which is magnificent indeed! In fact, seeing it now, I am struck by how similar your appearance is to that of a tongue, a taste bud, to be specific. To entertain this avenue, I ask that you take a moment to study and answer these five carefully designed questions:
(1) Do you find that you sweat profusely such that you are always, to a certain degree, moist?
(2) Do you find yourself a constant victim of paper cuts, specifically when handling your letters of correspondence?
(3) Do you find you enjoy bathing in scented waters but are repelled by thoughts of swimming in the sea, perhaps fearing that the salt will further constrict your already-tender skin?
(4) Do you notice that when you are jumping on a trampoline, the consonant sounds “l,” “n,” “d,” and “t” appear as if by magic?
And (5) Do you, during the winter season, always find yourself inexplicably and inconveniently stuck to cold metal structures?
GRIMACE: Hmmm, maybe the trampoline one, but otherwise, no.
GENETICIST: Ah, well, it was only a hypothesis. It appears that we will order that genetic test after all. But first, I feel compelled to present this stern warning: these tests can be excruciatingly accurate sometimes. You may, quite frankly, be disappointed with the result. You see, I cannot control the outcome of the test. I do not possess that power. I am not God. I am, sadly, only a geneticist.