On a long busy noisy urban road,
Power lines and signs. A level railway crossing,
An iron fence. People pass it, intently oblivious.
Someone had been stuck in a room with a chimpanzee.
But walking past, he stops at the iron fence.
On the other side of its bars stands a man
In thick optical lenses and a white coat
On the lawn at the front of a big block-and-plaster building,
Red tile roof, bars on the windows, steps before the door.
“Hey,” says the man, “Give us a beer.”
Is this an example of a scientist’s burnout, this question
Posed to a stranger through the bars?
“I have a problem with a chimpanzee,” the passer-by replied.
A long stare from the man in optical lenses and white coat.
Then, “No you haven’t. Unless you think you are a chimpanzee.”
“No-one has helped me with it,” said the passer-by.
The scientist flinched. His blank expression changed
To one showing determination and judgement.
He picked a key from a pocket and opened the iron gate
In the fence. Then he faced him and said,
“Your problem is that you think you are a chimpanzee.”
Then he committed him.