Third Message To Planet X
Thanks – hardly the right word but never mind – for the snotty response to my second report. Dear me, we are touchy, aren’t we? I must be careful where I tread, as the sound of crunching corns is audible across the void. Still, I shall do my best, though I feel compelled to raise again the matter of the supposedly redoubtable pair of astrosleuths you have in mind to hunt me down. It’s bad enough that you need two, but couldn’t you have done better? I quake at the thought that they might have been activated when I had that breakdown in Andromeda. But for my foresight in taking along an adjustable spanner and a roll of adhesive tape, you would have been seeking me to this day. Don’t let those two dimwits out even together, let alone solo. They’re not up to it.
I don’t wish to go on too long about the dopey duo, but let me say that Dworkles needs a ball of string to get back home from the office – an epic journey of half a kilometre – while in the case of Dwindles – what an appropriate name – the only thing that has diminished is the intellect, which started at zero, then declined. I heard that the terrible twosome colluded in an examination involving multiple-choice questions. Among other howlers, they selected ‘our historic move to socialism’ as a definition of redshift and ‘stellar-powered central heating’ as a solar system. I’d hate to think of this brace of dumbos getting lost in some asinine attempt to clap me in irons, and can imagine your chagrin at having to appeal to me to find them. I’ll try to avoid mentioning this again, but give no guarantee.
By the way, I’d like to know why we are all pigeon-holed at birth by the first two letters in our names, in my case DW, signifying a space traveller. If you really want to know, I would have chosen to be an architect, but nobody ever asked me, right? When thinking of the designs I could have produced, I cry like a baby, especially when I combine the thought with musings on how I have wrenched my guts in repeated – apparently vain – efforts to satisfy you.
I haven’t much to report because I gave you a great deal of information in the appendices I sent earlier – another effort for which you didn’t embarrass me with thanks. However, I will offer a few words about how the human male/female relationship has functioned. Historically, the usual tendency has been for males to wander and for females to stay at home, so the former have usually been the ones to make first contact with others of their kind. Unfortunately, too many of these meetings have been collisions rather than civilised encounters.
There is some debate here as to whether the story would have been different if the females, who seem more disposed to cooperation rather than confrontation, had been the ones to venture out. One cannot say, as the few females who have acceded to high office seem to have behaved much like their male counterparts. Perhaps it is a case of the jobs being onerous, no matter who does them – the office moulding the holder and not vice versa. Be that as it may, this gender thing has a certain allure, to which I do not seem to be impervious. Note this well!
Social advancement here has too often been brought about by upheaval rather than sensible progress. When one considers the differing levels of development of various individuals, perhaps the surprising thing is not that society doesn’t operate better than it does, but rather that it works at all. Human beings might be well-advised to follow the example of some supposedly lower species, such as ants, which also have a high ratio of brain to body-size. They seem to realise that each individual forms a tiny fraction of a whole and their behaviour reflects this. There is a glimmer of hope for homo sapiens in this respect, but in my view they are proceeding too slowly. One reason is that humans in general have so far unlocked only a small fraction of their mental wherewithal – some say about 10% on average and perhaps 20% for the most advanced specimens. I suspect that these estimates are too high.
Within the countries I have studied most closely, there is a slight difference between the sexes in terms of longevity, the females usually surviving a little longer than the males. I think the reason is obvious. The female experiences great bodily stress when producing offspring, but this occurs typically – at least in the more developed areas – on only two or three occasions in a lifetime. By contrast, the males are in general subjected to more ongoing strain, for example by working in physically demanding jobs. As heavy industry becomes increasingly mechanised, so the life-length gap between the genders is likely to close. And now I must do the same – those damned batteries again. Just time to say that I was most amused to note that you have nicknamed me ‘Chatsworth’. That’s better than I had expected from such a po-faced lot as you. Oh, your offer to sell my house is appreciated. Please do this and see that there are no sticky fingers around when you bank the boodle. Don’t invest it in any long-term bonds.
Stay cool – as if you could.
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