My cousin Jack is a structural virologist – with a PhD and a laboratory at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, California. He began his career as a professor of biology at Purdue. Jack read my post “Do You Play Golf” and responded beginning with an “I can top that.” I read his response. And thought – wow – he did – “top” my post. Up until now, my “posts” have been of my own creation and authorship. But Jack’s response is so special (and “topping”). I thought you would enjoy . . . . .
Okay Scott, I can top that. It is 1993 and I am on sabbatical in La Jolla, CA. It is May and my son, Aaron, is finishing his third year at Dayton University. He needs a car. Mary and I are only using one car in California because I ride my bike to work. So we need to get a car back to Indiana for Aaron. However, I am supposed to be in Japan a week later. I tell anyone who will listen that I can get the car back to West Lafayette in two days and still leave from Chicago to be in Tokyo for my meeting.
So – I leave La Jolla at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. The goal is to be in Amarillo, Texas, the first night (1000 miles) and West Lafayette the second (another 1000 miles). All is on schedule. I am on Interstate 40 cruising into Amarillo at about 9 p.m. I am passing a truck at about 70 mph in a 55 mph zone (mind you – this is 1993). I see a police car in my review mirror with lights flashing. I stop.
The officer comes to the window and asks if I know how fast I am going. I said 70 when I saw his lights. He observed that my speedometer was working well. He asked where I came from. I responded San Diego. He looked mildly sympathetic. Then he asked where I was going. I said tomorrow I was hoping to be in West Lafayette, Indiana. He asked what I did in West Lafayette and I responded that I was a professor of biology at Purdue University. He looked at me – paused – and asked “what is the difference between a eukaryotic cell and a prokaryotic cell.” I asked if he wanted the long answer or the short. He said the short was fine. I said a eukaryotic cell has a nucleus and a prokaryotic cell does not. He smiled and said that “I think we will handle this with a warning.” He walked back to his car and drove off. I got the car to West Lafayette and I made it to my meeting in Tokyo!
[Printed with permission of my cousin Jack]