3 December 1954 / Magnus Estate

One of the hyenas got loose in the hospital today. I have been using their lymphocytes to bolster the infection resistance of patients with compromised immune systems. I recaptured it before it did much damage beyond decimating the cafeteria's Jello stores and partially eviscerating an orderly, but I injured my back in the process.

While the treatment shows promise, I will have to rethink the whole program. For some time, I've known that there is nothing unique about the hyena cells, and that any number of animals are viable sources for the white blood cells. If I am honest with myself, I must admit that it's my fondness for the creatures that has kept them in residence on the 3rd floor, rather than any medical necessity. While a few pounds of Jello and a couple of feet of small intestine might seem a small price to pay for the inspiration "the boys" have provided me, it might not be safe to keep them next to the burn ward for much longer.

I am also disappointed the back injury banished me to my bed for the rest of the day. Making the best of a bad situation, I decided to re-acquaint myself with popular culture, and switched on the television, which was showing a program called "Queen for a Day."

I have never been so enchanted as I was while under the nauseating spell of this "game show." It's premise is simple: whoever debases herself the most wins a hearing aid. As women recited the horrifying details of their abysmal lives, both the mental anguish over the hyena incident and the physical pain in my back receded to the background. All that mattered were these pathetic, dowdy women and their lives that made mine seem glorious in comparison.

When the show ended, so did the placating effect. I searched in vain for another of its ilk, but all I found was "Howdy Doody," which, judging by the few seconds I saw before I smashed the television, is a neo-dadaist mockery of childhood lead by a grotesque.

Alone with my broken televiewer, the reality of the situation crept in: I had been coaxed into the role of voyeur, and not even the pitiable, sex-fiend kind. No, I was something much worse... the kind who vacations in the misery of others, in an attempt to make one's own life seem more palatable upon their return. Granted, most lives pale in comparison to my own, but the abject helplessness of those would-be "queens" proved an intoxicating liquor. To assuage my guilt, I will make out a check tomorrow that will provide refrigerators and hearing aids to all the contestants of the show.