Written by Mark Golden
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Topics: Animals

Saturday, 25 November 2006

image for Glow in the Dark Deer Are Just Down the Road
Glowing Deer Ahead

It just seems that car headlights and deer "go together". This mysterious phenomenon of "Dammit, why won't that animal move!?!" is one that is well known in America. It is the cause of over 100,000 vehicle accidents annually, totalling many millions of dollars. The injuries are staggering, too. Resulting take home "road kill" is of little interest to most injured motorists.

Of some help are little gadgets made to be mounted on vehicles which can be bought at sporting goods stores and over the Internet. Voodoo dances, "holy water" sprinkling, or incantations in the name of some Native American god of "peace and harmony" done over your car might be worth a try, too.

A recent solution to this problem was drawn by syndicated cartoonist "Laffendour". Going on the offensive, a 4x4 truck driven by some cheering good ol' boys, showed the equivalent of a medieval jousting lance positioned on the front grill of the vehicle. There were four deer already neatly skewered and number five "dead ahead".

Certain states are involved in sponsoring high tech, university experiments to solve this problem. Engineering students hoping to "win their spurs" are digging deep into their brains to come up with a solution that will benefit the entire nation, and at the same time provide something really original and clever on their resume.

One such student vying for the honor of the winning idea is young David Mersch. He has a startling concept drawn from a summer backpacking trip he took in New Zealand several years ago. There he experienced Nature's "glow worm" caves which are native to many of the caverns of that country. Early explorers had, in their own way, stumbled upon the amazing luminous properties of these pudgy, wiggly and sticky creatures. History tells of one lost, lone explorer; when his last light failed him, he in despair looked to the rock ceiling above him, expecting only sheer blackness. Instead, he found an array of small, yellow-greenish lights...fantastic glowing worms! The bright torch light had barred his eyes from noticing their continual presence. He followed the glowing lights, and in time this led him to the escape from his subterranean prison.

David Mersch, recalling the "glow" he had personally seen on a guided tour of one such cave, had a brilliant idea. So, through a "university to university" international swap grant, the New Zealand government allowed the exportation of a dozen or so live Glow Worms in exchange for one campus Starbucks. He went to work on his idea. In a school laboratory over the next six months he raised a small worm farm, and procured several road kill "orphaned" fawns for test specimens.

After only three weeks of testing there were promising results! The deer were fed an experimental meal containing varying amounts of glow worms and glow worm by-products. These ingredients blended into their diet took to the deer constitution like magic. Actually, it was much like real magic.

In the early lab trials when the lights were turned off all the deer had a faint glow! Not only the deer hide, but, the eyeballs became luminescent, too! (Excrement was also very bright until it dried and hardened).

Mersch decided that with further testing, yellow-greenish deer could be become a sight which any night time driver could see far in advance, allowing time to maneuver accordingly and avoid a collision.

But the real genius came when Mersch's experimentation led to his "illumination activation system" utilizing trace minerals found in common roadway asphalt. Blending those particles into the meal fed to the deer caused a 300 % increase in brightness to the otherwise not so bright animals. In essence, when such modernized deer touches an asphalt road in the evening, it will begin to light up like a large, hairy, four legged, 300 watt bulb, with 600 watt glowing eyes. Back in the woods, deer will be only a mere 4 watt curiosity--opening up the possibility for the first ever nighttime deer hunting.

Mersch's inventive solution has won him grants and lucrative funding. He foresees a day (actually a "night") when roads will be dotted with luminescent deer being mere whimsical obstacles to easily avoid, yet still retaining their off-road, discreet illusiveness.

It must be noted that the residual personal glow wattage (RPGW) for humans who will be eating the hybrid deer has not yet been factored into the research. On that point, one informed state transportation department director stated, "Hell, I'll eat a damn glowing deer and glow m'self! It sounds kinda fun, don't it?"

Make Mark Golden's day - give this story five thumbs-up (there's no need to register, the thumbs are just down there!)

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

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