The Pirate with a Ph.D.

I was looking over an earlier post about the the temperment of professors, and was reminded of the “Sixth Sally” in Stanislaw Lem’s Cyberiad:

“Listen here, you unmitigated freak,” yelled Trurl, throwing all caution to the winds, though Klapaucius kept elbowing him to show some restraint, “we have no gold, no silver, no precious stones, so you let us go this instant, and above all cover up that oversized physiognomy of yours, for it’s unspeakably hideous. And you” — he said, turning to Klapaucius — “stop jabbing me with that elbow! This is the way you have to talk to such types!”

“I have no use,” suddenly said the face, turning its thousand glittering eyes on Trurl, “for gold or silver, and the way you have to talk to me is delicately and with respect, as I am a pirate with a Ph.D., well-educated and by nature extremely high-strung. Other guests have been here and needed sweetening up — and when I’ve given you a proper pounding too, why, you’ll be positively dripping with good manners. My name is Pugg, I’m thirty arshins in every direction, and it’s true I rob, but in a manner that is modern and scientific, for I collect precious facts, genuine truths, priceless knowledge, and in general all information of value. And now, let’s hand it over, otherwise I whistle! Very well, I’ll count to five — one, two, three…”

I’ve always identified with Pugg, the pirate with a Ph.D. That’s probably why I spend much of my time trying to construct a “Demon of the Second Kind” for the web.

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