The Washington Bureaucrat leaned back in his chair, puffing on his pipe, and meditated quietly as he looked at the maa and woman sitting in the front of his desk. They were nice people, really-brigh, eager academics-and he did want to help them. They needed research funds to study some savages living in a jungle in South America, and were obviously good at their jobs. But it was a pity they knew so little about the savages who lived in that "jungle by the potomac" called Washington called Washington D.C.
"Look," the Bureaucrat said, putting down his pipe. "It's a simple trade-off, really. You, Dr. Ogdon, and your husband are both psychologists. You want to go study language development in some very primitive people who live near the Amazon. Right?"
Susan Ogdon looked at her husband and then nodded assent.
"Well," continued the Bureaucrat, "our department wants someone to study marijuana uses, and in just the same sort of back-woods people.
We don't care what language these people speak or how they learn to speak it. But we do want to find out how pot-smoking affects their lives, their health, and their ability to get along in the world. You make our study for us, and we'll pay for the research." The bureaucrat picked up his pipe again and leaned back in his chair. "What you choose to do on your spare time is you own affair, naturally. If you want to study language development on the side, we couldn't care less."
The woman cleared her throat. "What do you wish us to prove for you?"
The Bureaucrat sat bolt upright. "Nothing! Nothing at all! We have no preconceived notions of what your findings will be." The man paused, remembering how upset the Deputy Assistant Secretary got at the mere...