Davis, California - A UC Davis University professor who each year spends upwards of 2 million dollars extracting semen from the microscopic balls of three inch smelt fish says the extravagant expenses incurred by hapless tax payers and the massive dislocation of thousands of poor, migrant farm workers to keep the smelt alive is a small price to pay for his own well being.
"I teach about three hours a week, have my desperate graduate students conduct and grade all the labs, and drop by a lab every now and then to pull smelt giz out of a tiny fish's balls with a syringe that we pay $3,000 for and dispose after just one use," says UC Davis Professor Benson Hedge.
Hedge has spent over thirty years studying the smelt, a three inch bait fish, that for all intents and purposes wants to go extinct but is being denied that right by Professors like Hedge. Hedge not only receives a $92,000 salary as a professor at UC Davis but also gets low cost faculty housing to offset California's astronomical real estate prices.
"If I wasn't working for the University, I'd be living in a van on my salary," says Hedge.
Hedge also receives grant money from the US Federal Government and over $35,000 in untaxed stipend funds to supervise smelt semen extraction in the state of the art smelt lab in Davis, California.
"We extract the cum," he said, "and some people at UC Santa Cruz pump it into the smelt women, in an even more expensive lab, and at higher salaries, and with a much more humongous housing benefit."
Hedge says he fumes nightly at the relative privilege of professors at UC Santa Cruz.
The smelt lives in freshwater deltas, all of which contain billions of gallons of water that could be used by Central California farmers each year but are instead allowed to flow into the ocean.
"The farmers can bitch all they want," said Hedge, "but they live in lower population areas and simply don't have the political muscle of the urban and coastal areas, where people give a shit about smelts and don't care if I spend millions of other people's money extracting semen from smelt balls every year."
Hedge estimated that he works no more than 20 hours a week and said also the 20 hours he does put in each week are pretty easy.
Hedge said the central farm areas are economically depressed and depopulating rapidly, so their political power is shrinking ever more rapidly.
"I don't see me and my smelt going anywhere any time soon," he said.
Hedge says he is actively using the ample free time he has as a professor to lobby for even more funds for his smelt lab.
"The bulk of the money will go towards enhancing my salary," he said.
Hedge described his job of extracting smelt semen from the small fish's balls as "very low stress."
"Really, how would anyone know I wasn't doing it properly?" he said.
Hedge said that he's heard of some professors paid six figures a year to extract endangered species sperm from endangered species balls who have never once set foot in a lab.
"I doubt very much they've ever seen an endangered species testicle, let alone extracted sperm from one with a $3,000 syringe," Hedge said.
Hedge says that his generous contributions to his Congressman and Senators ensure that the EPA will not investigate him for fraud and continue harassing ranchers in Wyoming, Montana, and other low population areas instead.
Hedge is grateful to live in a high population part of California and be in a position to monopolize so much of his political representative's time. He is thankful that Central Californian Mexican migrant workers spend 100 hours a week working themselves to the bone, and are not counted in the census for purposes of representation.
He says that the smelt is "basically suicidal" and often just stops swimming and allows itself to sink to the bottom of pond, lake, and river floors, where it dies.
"That's why I need to capture the little fuckers and suck sperm out of their balls; otherwise they'd go extinct," he said.
Hedge says his efforts are most likely futile but he thinks he can prolong the lab's existence and continue getting all of his grant money from the Feds for about 10 years after the smelt finally goes the way of the triceratops. In the meantime, he is already hard at work concocting schemes to destroy Central Valley Farmers, the cities and towns they sustain, and, most importantly, the poor, hard scrabble Mexican migrant workers he hopes to "starve out of existence."
"I'm thinking of saying they can't harvest fruit anymore because rotten apricots are the natural environment of inch worms and fruit flies," he said.
Hedge said he is not sure if apricots are grown in the Central Valley and is willing to switch fruit habitats for endangered inch worms and fruit flies if necessary.
Hedge is confident, that with the right kind of obscenely overpriced equipment, he could extract semen from an inch worm's balls.