"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Soupy Sales - the Rabbit

I'm still too sick to do much, but I saw in the news that comedian Soupy Sales died and it reminded me of a story.

I was working in a lab where I had to produce antibodies to proteins I'd grown in bacteria, which meant injecting live rabbits. We'd bought a group of little Belgian black and whites, rather than the more expensive typical white rabbits, not knowing why people didn't usually choose the cheaper ones; after getting scars up and down both arms and my chest - more than once - it became obvious. The little guys have an attitude, especially when you poke them with needles. A year later, the law required that what I was doing had to be done by a veterinarian and a year after that, using a local anaesthetic.

I was instructed not to name the animals, but to give them designations like "Exp. 113, Rabbit A" and I assumed that this was because people are reluctant to inflict pain on animals they've named. So I named them, figuring that that was exactly the reason TO name them. I gave them the names of comedians starting with "S." - Soupy (Sales), Slappy (White), Shecky (Green), Stymie (Beard), Shemp (Howard), Satch (Huntz Hall), etc.

When it was time to write the paper that came from the research, it became necessary to refer to the animals specifically, as one had produced an antibody unlike the others. It was Soupy. I renamed him "Rabbit A" but later found out that there was an obscure rule in the many layers of bureaucracy that forbad renaming the animals, so a scientific paper was written that involved a rabbit named Soupy. Once published, the antibodies used become public domain and other laboratories clamored to get their hands on them for their own studies, so we were getting requests monthly for some "Soupy antibody." My boss never let me forget it, nor the lab tech, whose rabbit "Butterfly" was nearly as popular.

I'll get back to writing about running once I get back to actually running.


nwgdc said...

That is a fantastic story!
I always loved the "Sonic Hedgehog Gene" because no one would believe that actually existed, but a formal research paper including "Soupy the Rabbit" is much, much better.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

That is actually much funnier than any Soupy Sales routine I can recall.

Except this one, and I'm not even sure it's true;

That Soupy got fired from a local TV show for doing this routine with White Fang (the grunting, fuzzy hand):

Soupy writes an "F" on a chalkboard: "What letter is that, WF?"

WF: "Grunt!"

Soupy: "No, it's not a 'k'! Let's try again."

Soupy writes another "f".

WF: "Grunt!"

Soupy: "No, it's not a 'k'!"

This goes on for a while. Then Soupy sez:

"How come every time I write 'f', you see 'k'?"

Get it? F You See K?


NO IDEA if this ever really happened.

Another bad thing Soupy did was have two sons who would go on to form crappy group Tin Machine with David Bowie.

O yeah - I kertwanged you back, over at Nic's site. I eventually ended up kertwanging Nic, because I panicked and it's really all I know to do when I panic.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Snopes labels the story I tell above FALSE.

He also didn't say, "I took my wife to a baseball game. I kissed her on the strikes. She kissed me on the balls."

What he actually said was: "She kissed me on the n*ts@ck."

NOT FUNNY, Soupy!1!

Londell said...

Now I feel deprived... no clue who soupy is? Anyway, a illness induced rest... May it not last to long. Most I know hve it lingering for weeks... ug.

SteveQ said...

Londell, Soupy had a kid's TV show in the late 1950's (before our time) which had a brief reprise in the 1970's. His humor ran to bad puns and pie-throwing; not exactly high-brow stuff.

I'm feeling a little better, but I'm coughing up blood clots now, which has me worried.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Wait. You're coughing up blood clots but take the time to stop by my blog to correct my a-train-leaves-Chicago-heading-east-at-70mph-while-another-train-heading-west-leaves-NYC-at-the-same-time-going-85mph-when-will-they-meet math?

Get to a doctor.

SteveQ said...

Thanks for the concern, G. It's not as serious as it sounds. As I said, I whine a lot when I'm sick.

Then again, I DID once break an ankle and thought, "heck, it's only 7 miles to the finish line. May as well finish."

wildknits said...

i do tend to tell patients if they are coughing up "green, yellow, brown or bloody" phlegm to call their provider....

just saying...

and what guy doesn't whine a lot when he is sick?!? ;->

sea legs girl said...

This post makes me wonder why more parents don't consider the name Soupy.

That was a great story and hey, isn't it about time you started feeling better?