Written by Gail Farrelly
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Wednesday, 2 August 2006

image for Scientists Stunned to Learn the Extent of Unknown Bacteria in Oceans

Dr. Quinn Queasy, a marine researcher of great renown, was enjoying breakfast with his wife when he read about it in his morning newspaper. A global Census of Marine Life had just revealed that there might be more than 10 million types of bacteria (many of them unknown) in the seas, an amount 10 to 100 times higher than previously thought. According to his wife, Dr. Quinn was almost speechless. A disgusted "Yuck!" was just about all he could muster.

His research colleagues were equally startled. Dr. Sarah Scaredycat was on a seaside vacation, stretched out on a towel at the beach, when she heard the news on the radio. She immediately screeched "Danger," then scooped up her startled three-year-old son Peter (who had been building a sand castle at the water's edge), hauling him off to the pool area of the resort. Peter has seen the last of seaside sand. It's the sandbox now and forever. Amen.

Carl Clean WAS a graduate student and research assistant in marine biology. His career plans have changed. "It's not too late to switch to research on land," he stated. "I never knew the ocean was such a pigsty." He said he was heading off to a "nice clean jungle" to continue his studies.

Sara Squeamish reports that she hasn't gone near her husband Sam, an oceanic scientist, since he returned from his latest deep-sea expedition a week ago. "I just can't stop thinking about all those little microbes." Shuddering, she added, "How many of them did he bring home with him? Let him keep them to himself."

Dr. Ernie Earnaliving, Director of Research at the Marine Pharmaceutical Company, was just about the only person overjoyed about the news of additional bacteria in oceanic waters. He reportedly rubbed his hands together with gusto and commented, "More microbes for the world, more money for us."

Meanwhile Minnie the Mermaid (interviewed in her seaweed bungalow at the bottom of the sea) urged calm in the face of the latest findings about bacteria in the ocean. Dressed in a Juicy Couture bathing suit of sparkling blue, she looked spectacular as usual. She drank from a glass of seawater and said, "I've been swallowing this gunk for 83 years and I'm none the worse for wear." Her advice? "Try it, you'll like it."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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