The Control Group
Researcher went to lunch with his good friends Jeff and Marc, highly skilled journalists chosen for their urbanity and humor, and because Jeff’s wife is the editor in charge of the expense account, and researcher was merely making sure there’d be no problem on that end. Researcher ordered “uni,” raw sea urchin gonads reputed to be an aphrodisiac. As Marc and Jeff yammered on about their BlackBerry apps, the Penn State scandal and, for some reason, Bill Buckner, researcher worked on the Thursday Washington Post crossword puzzle, which he successfully completed in exactly 15 minutes. Researcher detected no effect of the uni.
Day Two: The Test Subjects
Researcher went to lunch with his good friends Caitlin and Rachel, both highly skilled journalists chosen because they are, vis a vis hotness, thermonuclear.
Because newspaper crossword puzzles get harder day by day through the week, researcher chose to do the previous week’s Thursday puzzle, to assure parity. Likewise, researcher chose the same table at the same restaurant, to eliminate locational bias. In short, researcher was being very scientific, which is why he also ordered the identical lunch each day, to avoid unintended variations in brain nourishment.
Researcher began crossword puzzle as the women chatted between themselves. Rachel asked Caitlin whether, she, too, was still sore from pole dancing. Researcher interrupted, castigating subjects for inventing facts so as to skew the results of the experiment. Indignantly, Caitlin responded that the two had indeed taken a pole dancing class a few days before in celebration of her 29th birthday, that they were in fact sore and did have leg bruises, which researcher visually confirmed after subjects did some unzipping and untucking. A debate ensued over whether Rachel’s main contusion more resembled the state of Vermont or New Hampshire. No conclusion was reached.
Subjects repeatedly asserted that they were behaving in a manner consistent with a luncheon between young professional women, including what they said was a common post-prandial ritual of lapping up the final morsel of food directly from one’s plate, without hands, as your girlfriend holds your hair back.
Researcher noted to his satisfaction that contrary to the findings of the Dutch experiment, his intellectual strength was at times actually enhanced on this second day. The clue for 41 Down was “Something measured in cups,” which was clearly intended as a trick question, but which researcher instantly realized, in a flash of insight, was “bra size.” This proved correct, saving valuable time. Researcher, therefore, was shocked to discover in the end that on this second day, the puzzle took 39 minutes and 40 seconds to complete, nearly 170 percent longer than on the first day.
Researcher is presently crunching the numbers, applying standard deviations and whatnot to help explain the findings so as not to dishonor the male gender. His current hypothesis is that it all has something to do with the unpredictable effects of sea urchin gonads.