2 October 1956 / Turkey

Yet again the media has completely and disgustingly distorted one of my scientific accounts for the sake of sensationalism and sexual appeal. I guess I’m partly to blame for trying to appeal to an audience larger than the fussy club of weirdos that reads scientific journals..

This morning I received a package from Mailer. He’s been forwarding me items of interest while I’m on my foreign sabbatical. Fortunately or unfortunately, they are subject to his judgment, so they’re usually full of things like sandwiches he didn't finish or photographs of what he deems "funny dogs". Included in this shipment was an arrowhead, some baffling pornography, a key, and for reasons unknown to me at the time, a copy of this “Man’s Life.”

The cover immediately piqued my curiosity, naturally, due to my fondness for turtles. Though I was slightly dismayed by the action depicted, it was in keeping with what I’d experienced with the noble little beasts. That they would come to the rescue of a damsel who is about to stabbed by a bare-chested brute didn’t surprise me.

So I flipped through to the account, and was swiftly transported to Louisiana, where a manly drifter gets a job taking care of a boat. On his first day, he has to take his boss’s man-trap-girlfriend out on the bayou on said boat. Alone. And her clothes seem to be both bodice-tight and loose and falling off at the same time. He had a problem with his shirt buttons too, I assume as they were of “drifter” quality. Primal anticipation shot off the pages onto my face.

This is sensational! I thought. This is sexy! But in the back of my mind, I was also thinking of the cover art, thinking, when is this man going to start stabbing her?

Oddly, that’s not what happened. For suddenly, out of nowhere, it was the turtles that attacked HER! The drifter fended them off using a knife (totally ineffectual, as it’s slingshots turtles hate) as they ate the entire woman and left him with a couple of stumps and unsatisfied urges.

Disgusting lies! A turtle would not behave this way! And no doubt this will cause the angry retaliation against thousands of innocent turtles, even though in the story, the woman was fairly bitchy and deserved what she got.

It wasn’t until I turned my attention to the photos that accompanied the story—snapshots of some snappers—that I realized they were MY photos! That was MY story, completely perverted!

I had forgotten that last year, I sent in my scientific account with a Louisiana turtle colony from my visit there twenty years ago. I was researching the possibility of using the turtles for bayou farming. Not as a master/indentured servant sort of relationship, but one of equality, one in which we worked side by side for the good of all. I was making measured progress, when the local sheriff, who thought I was converting the turtles to communism, shut me down.

When I found my notes last year, I thought the work too important to be forgotten forever. So I took out all the references to the bourgeoisie and sent it in for publication.

And of course, what should return but a complete distortion of my science. Blasted! There was no science in the article whatsoever! Save for the pages-long and intricately described fashion of the tight bloused boss’s girlfriend, there was no educational value in the story at all.

I should learn not to be disappointed about things like this, try to take a different tack. Yes, there were points of the story that I found exciting, and, yes, a fair amount of my scientific research does involve sexy boat trips, but why must they distort the truth?