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Dc: This is DCR, it's not the news. The Nobel prize winners were announced this week, starting with science, going through physics and chemistry to literature and peace. All of these are very important prizes... but if you ask the winners which of the Nobel laureates they respect most, you will usually hear the name of the winner of the Nobel Congeniality Prize. This year's winner is Dr. Jessica Churlish. Hello Dr. Churlish. Congratulations.
Churlish: Thank you. I'm still stunned. I can't believe it.
Dc: The Nobel committee touted you as a paragon of kindness and a "generous genius", for the way you spread credit around for your discoveries in chemistry and physics and medicine.
Churlish: (abashed) Oh, well... Any scientist would acknowledge her debt to colleagues and collaborators and competitors, and of course all those who did the groundwork all throughout history. That's the scientific method! No one works alone.
Dc: And you're modest too!
Churlish: (a note of resentment) Not modest enough, I guess! You noticed I didn't win the Nobel Humility Prize.
Dc: No, that went to Dr. Steven Yielding of Orlando Polytechnic.
Churlish: (under breath) That little creep.
Dc: What's that?
Dc: I noticed that there were a number of prizes you could have won that you didn't. Being something of a renaissance woman. You were a contender for the Nobel in Medicine. Physics. Chemistry. Economics too!
Churlish: Don't forget Literature.
Dc: That's right, you wrote a book called "Disposing the Body." Is it a mystery?
Churlish: Yes, it's a mystery how I ever wrote a book! (laugh)
Dc: Ha! And self-deprecating too!
Churlish: I joke with my friends that I started writing fiction because it was the only way I might win a Nobel Prize someday, since all my efforts in science seem to have come to nought. With other stars shining brighter. Year in and year out.
Dc: So the book is a mystery?
Churlish: A mystery/fantasy. About a very smart scientist who uses her brilliance to methodically kill all her rivals, using a combination of poison gas and toxic blow guns and staged car accidents. Exploding centrifuges. That sort of thing. Nonsense, really.
Dc: I'm surprised that YOU of all people could write such a... mean spirited and violent story. I...
Churlish: Right. Many people are surprised. But remember, it's fiction. A lot of my colleagues are so literal, they can't grasp that it's all made up.
Dc: So... the main character in "Disposing the Body", the murderer... is named Jessica Churlish, just like you?
Churlish: Couldn't think of anything more original at the moment.
Dc: But she is NOT you.
Churlish: No, of course not. Her eyes are hazel. And mine are brown. Otherwise, I guess we have a lot in common, without being the same.
Dc: OK, and her murderous rampage... Is that a symbolic severing of the ties with childhood?
Churlish: No. Not that.
Dc: Is it an expression of the moral cost of staying true to one's calling?
Churlish: Uh, no. It was nothing about that. The murders in the book simply represent the way I really, really, really don't like people sometimes.
Dc: Oh. Specific people?
Churlish: Not too specific. Prize hogs, mostly. But the names have been changed.
Dc: And by the end of the book, the character Jessica Churlish with all this blood on her hands winds up a triple Nobel prize winner, the first ever!
Churlish: And there you go. Another difference between myself and my character. She won three prizes, where, in real life, I got the Congeniality award! (quivering lip) The consolation prize! (sniff)Dc: There, there. It's a good thing the field of scientific inquiry is so cooperative and supportive and non-competitive.
Churlish: (weepy) I coulda been the champ!
Dc: Dr. Jessica Churlish is winner of this year's Nobel Congeniality Prize.