Equipment

Erik Schmoogle rarely turned up for class early, unless he was late handing in his homework and wanted to copy his classmates work by pulling it out of his teacher’s in-tray before he got to the lesson. Today Erik was carrying a large bag and seemed particularly excited. As the children filed in to the class the teacher walked over to Erik’s desk where the boy was prodding about in his bag;

“Did you find out anything interesting for your address to the class this morning Erik?” said the teacher. Erik looked up a little startled and zipped his bag shut.

“Oh yes sir, trust me, I’ve done my homework and promise to give the best lecture on the origins of life, and how we got here, you’ve ever heard. I have even devised my own experiment!”

“Really?” replied Mr Slipsure, squinting his eyes and not looking as sure as Erik. Suddenly there was a noise from the bag.

“What was that?… what have you got in that bag boy?”

“Err nothing” replied a flustered Erik, “just some bits and pieces for the experiment.” The schoolmaster looked incredulously at the boy and having the usual acute desire to wring his neck composed himself in the nick of time.

“Sir, I need to prepare my equipment for my demonstration if that’s ok? Can I have the desk at the back of the class to get ready?

“Equipment?” replied the teacher incredulously. “Yes I suppose so” replied the teacher suspiciously. “You’ve got ten minutes” he added, as if  shortening the time might act as some kind of damage control.

“Thank you sir. Very kind sir.”

By now the other members of the class had arrived and Mr Slipsure addressed each member of the class looking at their homework.

“That’s very good Charmaine, thank you for sharing your ideas on the origins of life with the class. You’ve obviously read your text book thoroughly.” Mr Slipsure looked at Erik nervously as he unpacked his ‘experiment’ as Erik seemed to be struggling with what looked like a can opener. He wondered if he was seeing things as Erik pulled a kitchen blender Erik from his large bag. He took of his glasses and shook his head, but when he looked again, Erik had covered whatever it was on the desk with a large black cloth. It was as if Erik was about to perform a magic show.

“Schmoogle… are you ready?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good… then please begin. Oh and Erik.”

“Yes sir?”

“Let’s not have a repeat of last time eh?” After a short discussion with the class about all things relating to the origins and development of life on earth the teacher said;

“Now to finish our lesson on ‘living things and how life got started develop’, Erik has kindly offered to show us the results of his ‘findings’ with a short demonstration on the origins of life. So if you’d all like to turn and face the back of the class and show your appreciation, it’s over to Erik.”A gentle ripple of applause broke as Erik took to the classroom floor. “Thank you sir and classmates” said Erik proudly. “It’s a great honour for me to show you all the results of my homework and diligent research into the origins of life. Now you may be wondering what all this ‘equipment’ is up here but it will become clear soon enough – suffice to say I got my ‘idea’ from something that Mr Slipsure told us in yesterday’s lesson.” Mr Slipsure put a finger to his mouth and tried to remember what he had said.

“Well today boys and girls, we – yes you and I, are going to attempt to create life! If you remember, Mr Slipsure told us; and I quote; ‘all that is needed to create life, is for all the necessary molecules for life to be in one place – and a little energy applied.’ Mr Slipsure looked even more uncomfortable.

“Now” continued Erik. “As his faithful and loyal students, we all take him at his word… after all… he is a learned scientist and we are his students. But brothers and sisters, what if by some unthinkable happenstance Mr Slipsure and his textbook was wrong?.. how would we know that this statement was in fact true? Well, thankfully the answer is simple!.. we know it must be true because not only does he and his wonderful text book tell us so, but it must also be true because Mr Slipsure only has only our best interests at heart – isn’t that right Mr Slipsure?” Mr Slipsure fidgeted in his seat uneasily.

“Five minutes Erik.”

“No problem sir, this will only take a few minutes” said Erik taking six pairs of laboratory protection goggles from the wall and handing them to his classmates in the first row.

“Well you see class, this got me thinking, and all of a sudden I got this marvellous idea; wouldn’t it be better not just to believe what we read in the text book – what if we cold actually prove that Mr Slipsure’s theory and his learned friends of the text books was right?”

“Put these on please” said Erik with the mastery of a science schoolmaster handing a pair to Mr Slipsure.

“What on earth are these for?” he demanded.

“Just a precaution sir” said Erik. “Don’t want any accidents after last time” he said with a glint in his eye whilst at the same time removing the cloth from the object on the laboratory bench to reveal a large, deluxe Mulimix blender. Erik’s teacher’s mouth dropped open as the croak he had heard a few minutes earlier came back to his mind.

“Three minutes” he said to Erik who continued now oblivious of his teacher’s voice.

“Now you are probably wondering why I need all this equipment to carry out my ‘little experiment’. Well the reason is simple. For anything to be scientific, it must be… let’s see now” said Erik flipping through his science textbook. “Ah yes; demonstrable, observable and repeatable, and for that my friends, you need proper scientific equipment!” There was a slight ripple of laughter from the class.

“However” he said placing his hands on the lid of the blender. “This, is not just any piece of equipment” he said proudly, “for it has been loaned to me by my beloved mother in order to carry out today’s experiment.”

To his schoolmaster’s surprise, Erik suddenly switched on the blender and continued shouting, his voice raised up a notch over the din.

“As you can see this incredible device has twelve speeds and can shred half a pumpkin in under six seconds – just what’s needed to create a delicious soup!.. and in our case… a ‘primordial soup’!”

A very nervous Mr Slupsure shouted; “two minutes” to Erik, who was now in a world of his own and almost delirious with excitement.

“Now” Erik shouted, “let us think of this blender as our ‘container’ in which we will place all Mr Slipsures’ recommended ingredients for the creation of life – according to his thoroughly well tested principle of course!”

Just then Erik began to run through the necessary things needed to procure life according to Mr Shipsure’s principle for creating a new life form;

“Hmmm, we’ve got our energy source, but something’s missing from my demonstration to create life – anyone know what it is?” Trevor Begley put his hand up.

“You still need all the necessary ingredients in one place.”

“Well done Trevor” replied Erik, “that is indeed correct. Now, according to my extensive research… I could use this” said Erik, pulling out a glass jar from his bag.”

“Peanut butter?” said a girl in the front row closest to the experiment.

“One minute boy… you can’t create life from peanut butter?!!” shouted Mr Slipsure. Erik continued;

“But I disagree Mr Slipsure, since this jar contains all the proteins and complex molecules necessary for life in one place! However, after careful deliberation and thought I decided to go one step further as I don’t want anyone to think that some of the ingredients might be missing!”

“Thirty seconds” shouted mr Slipsure hoping the school bell would ring and end the experiment. Just as he spoke, with a look of madness on his face Erik reached into his bag. Suddenly there was a gasp from the class, and everyone sat back in their seats as no one expected to see what he pulled out!