The Biodeconfukulator

By Daniel Mallock (August 2019)

 
Solidity of Fog, Luigi Russolo, 1812
 

 

     I invented something. It will transform healthcare.

     I got funding and built a huge company. That's all gone now.

     The story is a good one, though, I think. You decide.

     I appeared on an American television show called FishTank several years ago. I know that the episode aired at least once because my mother told me so. Maybe you saw the episode?

     FishTank is a show where people who want to start businesses, or who have a business plan but no start up money go to try to get venture capital investments. If the guest is lucky, or they have a great pitch, then they can get funding. Sometimes, the guest has to give up a much higher percentage of company equity than they prefer. It’s this synergy and conflict between wealthy investors and hungry entrepreneurs that makes FishTank so interesting and sometimes dramatic.

     I was never interested in fame. I was reluctant to appear on FishTank. But after a walk in Greenwich Village and seeing a newspaper article on the wall of a bagel hole shop there, I knew I would have a better chance at getting big funding with the Fish than by approaching any banker.

    
     Here are my impressions of each Fish:

Fish1—Hard-nosed Wall Street-type, calls himself “Mr. Superb” for some reason.

Fish2—Television infomercial queen, very pleasant and pretty.

Fish3—Lady real estate investor, by-the-book sort of person.

Fish4—A technology billionaire; made his money through mergers and acquisitions. Has a sentimental side.

     (Fish1) Who are you, and why are you on FishTank?

     I am an inventor, Mr Superb. I need lots of money to build out my invention and market it to the world. I have a degree from Harvard in International Relations, a masters from Oxford in Applied Biology and Logic, and a PhD from Stanford in BioTechnologyEthics.

     (Fish3) Impressive. Why do you need us?

     Well, I need a lot of money. I found out about FishTank when I saw a newspaper article about the owner of the Bagel Hole shop in the Village. She came on the show, got funding from you people and is now successfully selling bagel holes. That was when I knew I had to come on FishTank. I thought that anybody who would invest in bagel holes were my sort of people.

     (Fish2) Uhhh, is that a dis?

     Not at all. I love bagel holes.

     (Fish1) This is a joke of some kind, right? You're a sort of human bug?

     No, I am not a bug, and this is not a joke. You have money and I need it.

     (Fish3) Ok, your credentials are impressive. We know you need funding and that’s why you’re here. Tell us about the invention. What is it and what does it do?

     My invention, the Biodeconfukulator . . .

     (Fish1) What? Biodecon—

     —fukulator. Yes, that's right.

     (Fish4) What the hell is that?

     When humans become disconfukulated, or "ill" or “sick” as medical people like to describe it, they can be made well with the Biodeconfukulator because it deconfukulates whatever it is that causes the ailment. It's essentially a cure for all human illness. It deconfuks all fukulations.

     (Fish2)(Fish3)(Fish4) Wow.

     (Fish1) What the hell are you talking about? This is hogwash, an insult! You are a bug! Get the hell out of here!

     (Fish2) Wait! Wait! Let the man finish. He has a Stanford PhD! Imagine this thing on QVC!

     (Fish4) Tell us more. I haven't heard these terms you're using before.

     Thank you. The Biodeconfukulator operates on a theory of human physiology similar to the way in which Wilhelm Reich characterized the Orgone. Good health is fukulated, bad health is disconfukulated. The Biodeconfukulator brings positive protonic elements to the human genome and deconfukulates any negative or harmful fukulates thus bringing good health to the patient.

     (Fish1) Ridiculous!

     (Fish3) I am very skeptical on all of this. But—I admit to experiencing disconfukulations from time to time and, if there was some cure, that would be fantastic! I mean, if—

     (Fish1) Are you nuts? Fukulations? This is ridiculous! You’re taking this guy seriously? This human bug!

     (Fish3) What is your business plan?

     I will leverage the finest minds on this planet in the field.

     (Fish1) There is no field! This is completely—

     (Fish2) Wait. Let him finish! This could be important!

     I will have remote engineering locations in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Tblisi, Kyiv, and Adamstown where the best engineers and scientists are currently working.

     (Fish1) Adamstown?

     Pitcairn Island.

     (Fish1) Pit . . . you can’t be serious.

     Oh yes, very.

     (Fish1) You really need to leave. Get the hell out!

     -Pause-

     (Fish2) How much do you want?

     I propose that you invest 50 million for a 40% stake in the company.

     (Fish4) 50 mil! Wow. You sure are ambitious!

     I need the money to build a company to create the Biodeconfukulator at scale, then market it to the world. This will require top end engineering, superb staffing, excellent scientific minds. I estimate that within 5 years the company valuation will be 30 billion dollars and the health crisis of this planet resolved.

     (Fish2) Whoa! I think I'm interested in this!

     (Fish1) What? This bugman is the greatest huckster since PT Barnum! Are you daft?

     (Fish4) Don't be so negative. He's going to transform healthcare and make billions just by helping people! It's admirable!

     (Fish3) How big is the Biodeconfukulator? Did you bring a demo?

     No

     (Fish2) How about a photo of it?

     No

     (Fish3) Schematics?

     No. But I have this drawing of the unit, here.

     (Fish1) It's a black box? I mean, it's really a black box? You're crazy, right?

     The box is black because we cannot show the mechanism of the unit. Thus, it is black. Additionally, for commercialization purposes it’s black and sleek—you know, like the first Macs.

     (Fish4) The first Macs were not black.

     They were sleek, though.

     (Fish4) They were sure sleek! Nothing else like them!

     (Fish1) But it's a black box? That means nobody knows how it works, or what's inside, right?

     You did not invest in the bagel holes, Mr. Superb. You described them as stupid and ridiculous. You lost money, probably several million, right?

     (Fish1) Bug man!! What sort of scam—

     (Fish3) Wait a minute! Let this guy talk! He's got all sorts of credentials! And he’s right about the bagel holes. You sure blew that one!

     So, I thought that anybody who invested in bagel holes was my kind of investor.

     (Fish2) Hold on! That sounds like you're saying that the bagel hole investment was wrong? I made two million bucks off that one!

     I didn't mean to suggest that investing in bagel holes was wrong, just that it's . . . unexpected, and non-standard. I mean, bagel holes don't exist, it's a hole. How does one package a hole?

     (Fish1) You don't need a fish; you need a shrink! You slimy little—

     (Fish3) I like the black box idea. People love a good mystery, especially in tech.

     (Fish4) Wait just a minute! You're saying that tech is a fraud aren't you?

     (Fish3) Not really, but if you want to interpret it that way that's up to you, right?

     (Fish4) I can't believe you! This is ridiculous! You use a computer, don't you? That's not a black box!

     (Fish3) It is to me. I mean, do you know how a telephone actually works? Or a digital watch? Can we talk about this man's invention please? You’re starting to really confukt me.

     (Fish2) Alright. Tell us more. You are using terminology I've never heard.

     I can explain the terminology. The Biodeconfukulator directly addresses the confuktions of the modern human body, managing and repairing the genome itself via proprietary technology that is delivered via the machine in its black box housing. My mission is to deconfukulate as many people as I can—using the Biodeconfukulator, of course. Several treatments will bring curatives and health unseen before, and the money will pour in, not unsimilar to all the trillions you folks got from the bagel holes.

     (Fish1) There it is again! It's a dis, and you're some sort of human bug! Get the hell out of the tank!

     (Fish3) You should just shut up if you're not going to invest.

     (Fish1) You told me to shut up? On national television? What the f**k is wrong with you people, can’t you see that this man is a—

     (Fish4) Don't insult him! He's got credentials and a world-changing idea. You thought bagel holes were world changing, remember? And then you got cold feet and didn’t invest. I think you lost a few mil on that one!

     (Fish1) That's different. That was a tangible thing we could sell.

     How can a hole, which is by definition a nothing, be tangible? Your concept of what is real and what is not is at the center of this discussion, isn't it?

     (Fish1) You're a bug. I know it. Now, get off the set, we have people with actual ideas waiting to get our money!

     (Fish2) I'm thinking of QVC—people like black boxes. They look great on television!

     (Fish4) You say you want 50 mil for a 40% stake, is that right?

     Yes, that is true.

     (Fish4) I'm in—but not in the way you're offering.

     Ok, what do you need?

     (Fish4) I'll give you the 50 mil, plus 5 but I want 50%.

     Ok.

     (Fish4) Yes!!!!!!

     We can disrupt healthcare together. The world needs deconfukulating and we'll do it together! Very exciting.

     (Fish1) Incredible. I can't believe this. You're dropping 55 mil to this huckster?

     It's not hucksterism, it's deconfukulation.

     (Fish1) See! Ridiculous!

     (Fish2) Wait. I want in, too. What do you say we go halfsies on this?

     (Fish4) How so?

     (Fish2) I'll give 27.5 and you give 27.5 that way we can split the risk. And I just want half of the equity. So, we each get 25%. It’s reasonable, right?

     (Fish4) That's great. I agree, partner! I love working with you. We can deconfabulate . . .

     No, deconfukulate.

     (Fish4) Right. Of course. We'll deconfukulate American healthcare! It'll be fantastic!! Deal!

     (Fish2) Deal!

     Fantastic!

     (Fish3) I'm a little skeptical on all of this.

     Were you skeptical when you invested 30 million in bagel holes?

     (Fish3) What does that mean? Are you dissing me?

     No. It's a simple question.

     (Fish1) I'm telling you; this guy is full of it! He's a bug!

     And so, that is how my appearance on FishTank concluded. I got two serious investors, seed money for the deconfukulation enterprise, and national exposure on television.

     The purpose of the enterprise was just as I had told the Fishes, I want to end confukulation, and deconfukulate ill health in this country then around the world. The Biodeconfukulator was the way that this all would be done.

     I built out a corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Mountain View, California. With my Fish partners and all of their investment monies I hired the best engineers in India, Ukraine, Pakistan, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Estonia, and on Pitcairn Island. I travelled to all of these offshore offices making friends around the world.

 

     I was on the cover of Forbes, INC., Fast Company, and the Google Innovator site; I had a Facebook page, and 45 million Twitter followers. I spoke at TedTalks and my video about deconfukting the American healthcare system and the promise of the Biodeconfukulator got 42.5 million hits on YouTube. Money was flooding in. I got a new electric car. I lived a spartan life-style not wanting people to think that I was in it for the money. I evangelized the biodeconfukulator where ever I went. Global interest reached a crescendo, and the operations in Mountain View continued 24/7.

     After one year, both Fish investors received their initial investment back. They sat quiescent on the Board, not interfering or asking questions happy as deconfukted clams. Once, during a board meeting, one of the board members brought in an original Reich Orgone Accumulator that he'd bought on eBay. I couldn't believe it. It was fantastic. I was so impressed.

     The board member said, "Here is an Orgone Accumulator. Reich went to jail for this because it's a fraud medical device that does nothing at all. So, my question is this: what is the difference between the Orgone Accumulator and the Biodeconfukulator?"

     As you can imagine pandemonium erupted. Chairs went airborne, and the board member with the Orgone Accumulator was hospitalized due to a "work accident." He didn't make it.

     We continued research and development. When the CDC and CMS and leading scientists from the world's best universities tested the equipment, they were impressed at how it brought dead animals back to life, how it revitalized dying plants, how it grew hair on bald heads, how it grew missing limbs back right where they used to be and, through the miracle of science, the unexpected benefit of turning low quality wines into the finest wines then available. Excitement was high, at least in my office in Mountain View on the third floor. 

     And then, right then, when all was going so well, a missing limb that had been biodeconfukulated reappeared on the wrong body. A woman appeared at corporate HQ and asked to see me. She had three arms. I couldn't understand it. I checked all the equipment and all the settings. I realized that the location statometer had been set incorrectly. But the damage had been done. The next day a one-armed man came to the office saying that his left arm had gone, he didn’t know where it was or what had happened to it, and blamed me. Things were suddenly going very poorly.

     FishTank never aired a follow-up episode about the success of the company, all the reattached limbs or all the resuscitated deceased people or all the bad wine dramatically improved by the Biodeconfukulator.

     One day, everyone at the company resigned, and all the offshore engineers stopped acknowledging my texts, emails, voicemails and then, finally, happy anniversary messages.

     In this place where I live now, waiting for the trial to start—everyone seems to have made up their minds already. I have an hour of supervised internet access a day. They watch me closely and talk amongst themselves. But I know that they are confukted and just one session with the Biodeconfukulator would solve all their problems.

     The two Fish investors came by last week to visit. They brought bagel holes—so thoughtful. Mr Superb sent me a birthday card. It said, “you're a crazy bug! Happy Birthday!”

     They took all the biodeconfukulators so I can't do what I need to do. Just one session and I'd be all fixed, and just a little bit longer and the healthcare system completely deconfukted.

     It's a little, tiny world of confuktion I live in now. I can't see the end of it.

     I just wanted to help. Honest.

 
 
 

__________________________________
Daniel Mallock is a historian of the Founding generation and of the Civil War and is the author of The New York Times Bestseller, Agony and Eloquence: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and a World of Revolution. He is a Contributing Editor at New English Review, and Assistant Editor at New English Review Press.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast
Comments
22 Aug 2019
Send an emailMichael Zorn
Brilliantly funny (in a reserved, Old English sort of way)! The "bald head" line was worth reading the whole thing.

22 Aug 2019
Send an emailMike R
The funniest thing I've read in ages. I've read it several times now and laugh aloud each reading. Bravo.

23 Aug 2019
Send an emailMargaret Laureys
What fun! It was delightfully droll in the way Woody Allen's short stories were. I also got a sense of the absurd that we saw in Steve Martin's "The Jerk" wherein he invents glasses that won't pinch the bridge of one's nose, makes millions, and then goes broke when it turns out the glasses make people cross eyed! This story had that sort of fun absurdity, but was rather smart as well.


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