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In the Elevator

Sunday,  02/16/03  02:14 PM

[The elevator door opens.  I get in.  Standing next to me is a well-dressed woman of fifty, whom I recognize to be Ms. X, well-known publisher at X books.]

O: "Hello!  You're Ms. X, aren't you?"
X: "Yes, yes I am."

[I gulp.  This is my chance.  I must tell Ms. X about my book...]

O: "You know, I'm writing a book."
X: "Really?" (Feigns interest but barely suppresses a yawn.)
O: "It's about how the human race is getting less intelligent."
X: "No kidding?  Well, I certainly meet examples every day."  (Thinking I'm one myself.)

[I glance at the elevator's indicator.  We're halfway to the ground floor.  Yikes.]

O: "I'm calling it Unnatural Selection.  The idea is that once upon a time the fittest, smartest people were the ones having kids.  So their kids were fit and smart, and each generation was smarter than the last.  But that stopped happening a long time ago, and these days, less fit, less intelligent people are the ones having kids.  So their kids are not as fit and not as smart, and each generation is less and less intelligent.
X: "Is this a work of fiction?"  (She's starting to show interest!)
O: "I wish!  Unfortunately it is all too true.  I think it's the most important problem facing the world, that's why I'm writing...  The book shows that this really is happening, talks about why it isn't obvious even though it should be, and discusses the reasons why it is happening.  Then it presents some ideas to reverse the trend."

[Only two floors left.  My heart is racing.]

X: "This sounds - controversial."  (She smiles.  Hey, maybe I've got her?)  "Is this science or philosophy, or politics?"
O: "All three.  It's science to show that people really are getting less intelligent.  It's philosophy to talk about why it is happening.  It's politics to present ideas to reverse the trend."

[The elevator door opens.  We've arrived.  I hold my breath expectantly.  Will she walk away?  Will she stop and ask me more questions?  Did I hook her?  You tell me - did I make my case?]

[Later - please see Baby Steps if you have no idea what's going on here...]

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