The White Shoe Irregular:
It was fun while it lasted.

An-duran-duran-eda Strain

Bit and Bitter

[Bit and Bitter are Ryan "a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll" Hamilton and Ryan "festering canker of bitterness" Honaker]

With the mapping of the human genome finally complete, scientists are making giant leaps forward, smaller leaps from side to side, and several do-si-dos, in the understanding of human behavior. As specific genes are isolated and studied, the hereditary causes of such maladies as diabetes, cancer, and Sagittarius are within decades of being found. With this power, however, comes great responsibility. As members of a society, as citizens of the world, as children of our parents and as parents of our children (Stop snickering, this is not as dumb as it sounds. Think about it, dude. Yeah.), we must decide if we are going to use this power for good, to block such behavior as jingle writing, or for evil, to genetically alter babies and turn them into super mutant children, like McCauly Culkin, with super mutant powers, like opposable thumbs.

You see, not all human genome news is good news. Perhaps the most disturbing discovery in the history of behavioral genetics was the recent isolation of what is being called the '80s gene. This gene explains the lingering hold that '80s music, movies, and "culture" still have on our society. "We had all expected to discover terrible things: genes influencing alcoholism, violence, female pattern-baldness — the so-called lunch-lady syndrome — but we were just overwhelmed," says Dr. Robert Michelson, head researcher at Genes-R-Us, a genetic research facility and trendy fashion outlet located in an Orange County, California mall. "We were looking for the reasons why Dirty Dancing is called a 'modern classic' on many cable channels; why Andrew McCarthy is worshipped like a god in some third-world countries. What we have discovered is a behavior-influencing gene composed of spandex and in the shape of the 'VH' from the old Van Halen albums. We have discovered cases where a dominant '80s gene will cause people to crimp their hair and tease out their bangs, wear braided leather belts tied over and hanging down in front, even to purchase Poison tapes. It's horrifying. Poison. Can you even imagine? Oh the humanity." Dr. Michelson then curled himself into a tiny ball and whimpered softly to himself, while stroking a double-helix model.

Although the gene is helping everyone understand the explosive growth of "flashback '80s lunch hours" on radio stations across the nation, many are troubled by the implications. "Some people are just going to use this as an excuse for their behavior, so they won't have to take responsibility for wearing ripped sweatshirts and purchasing tickets to Billy Idol on Ice," says Charlton Heston, actor and president of an underground paramilitary organization known as the NRA. "Responsibility must be taken for Bon Jovi getting back together, or I'm going to shoot somebody."

Debate still rages about how to best treat this disease. Studies have shown that even in low dosage, serum containing the '80s gene caused "Flock of Seagulls" hair and a penchant for Devo hats in lab rats. (The rats were mercifully destroyed.) Scientists have had limited success treating '80s syndrome with the radical "ABBA therapy," forcing the gene into remission with hour upon hour of '70s hits. Furor has arisen, however, over whether the sickness, in this case, might not be better than the Cure. Already, congressional bill H.R. 437 is on the floor of the House, proposing to make in-utero music therapy illegal. If this bill is made into law, the only way that parents will be able to protect their unborn children is to go to the so-called "ABBA Houses" in the industrial zones of big cities.

Meanwhile, people are encouraged to watch for the telltale signs of '80s gene dominance. If you have sought out, purchased, or listened to an entire Howard Jones album at any time in the last four years, it is suggested that you not donate blood, and see a doctor as soon as possible.