Pavo is not a bird without guile.  In fact, I’ve learned to be suspicious of him whenever he starts getting a little too friendly.  But I was in the midst of cleaning his cage one evening when our inconsequential banter turned serious.

“Tell me Big Guy,” he said, feigning indifference but pressing closer to the side of his cage nearest to me. “Who do you think is the clearer thinker, me or Watson?”

“Which Watson are you comparing yourself to Pavo, the literary medical Watson or the scientific Watson?”


“Dr. John H. Watson or Dr. James Dewey Watson?”

“Whoa Big Guy!  I didn’t know there were three Watsons.  Are they brothers?  Tell me about these John and James guys.  I don’t know them.  Are they as famous as I am?”

Pavo likes to think he has gained some international notoriety by being featured on an Internet blog and I don’t wish to pin stick his balloon.  So I play it straight.

“Let’s start with the older one, Dr. John H. Watson, an 1878 graduate of the University of London Medical School and a surgeon in the British Army.  He saw service in both India and Afghanistan. He gained fame and stature when the first Sherlock Holmes appeared.”

“Wait a minute B.G,.  Correct me if I heard incorrectly.  But did you say he came out of the famous Sherlock Homes?  Is Sherlock Homes one of those tricky names they attach to overpriced real estate where they give it a gooey name that sounds all green-grassy and tree-shady?  I don’t remember hearing about a development called Sherlock Homes.  Maybe you meant Hemlock Homes.”

“That’s Holmes, with a silent ‘l’ in the middle.  It’s an old English family name.  Sherlock Holmes was a famous detective of the late 1800’s in London.  He and Dr. John H. Watson were responsible for solving many murder cases there.”

“Wow!  Sounds like he could be formidable competition.”

“Tell you what I’ll do for you Pavo.  I’ll hustle down to Barnes & Noble and see if I can find a paperback copy of A Study in Scarlet, the first book Dr Watson appears in.  I’ll tear out the pages one at a time and line the bottom of your cage with them.  Then you can read about how smart Dr. Watson was.”

“Is it possible to get two copies of the book Big Guy?  As you know, book pages are printed on both sides so if you alternate the pages from the two books I won’t have to turn the individual pages over.  You can just line them up side by side.  Then all I’ll have to do is kick them aside when finished to get to the next level.”

“I’ll give it a try but do you also want to know about the second Watson, James D.?”

“Did he do anything important B. G.?”

“I’ll let you decide Pavo but I’m biased because he’s an age cohort of mine.”

“But I thought cohorts described partners in crime B.G.  Did you guys serve time in stir together?”  On occasion, Pavo likes to toss in a word or two of street language in order to show his grasp of the current language.

“No Pavo.  He is a Biologist.  He and Francis Harry Compton Crick worked together to create the first model of DNA.  Do you know anything about DNA?”

“Can you give me a clue?”

“Sure. Deoxyribonucleic acid.”

“Whoa.  That’s a mouthful.  Being an acid, does it dissolve anything?”

“No Pavo.  But it did solve one of the greatest mysteries of mankind.”

“Don’t tell me this Watson was another detective like the sidekick of that Sherlock guy.”

“Nobel Prize winners don’t solve mysteries unless you call scientific research a mystery Pavo.  If that’s so, then he was one of the greatest detectives of all times.  Watson and Crick unlocked the mystery of the DNA molecule.  It’s chemical structure determines our genetics, what and who we are, all our traits and then some. Their original paper about the structure of DNA was published in the Science journal Nature back in 1953 and has led to so many other scientific investigations that it is considered by many people to be the most important scientific publication of the twentieth century. Watson later headed the Human Genome Project that was charged with the responsibility of making a map of the human genome.”

“On second thought Big Guy, this is out of control.  Maybe we can put your two Watson guys on hold so I can get back to the other Watson.”

“Clue me in Pavo.  Who is the other Watson and where did he come from.

“His name is ibn Watson.  Sounds like he might be from the Middle East.”

“Oh.  I get it now.  You are talking about Watson, the IBM computer that showed up on Jeopardy recently.  That’s IBM not ibn.”

“Yeah.  That’s the one.  But why is he afraid to show his face?”

“He doesn’t have one.  He’s a machine.”

“But he sure is smart.   He cleaned the clocks of the two big guys on the show.  And won a ton of money.”

“He’s smart okay but imagination is not his strength.  He can’t tell a joke and he doesn’t understand humor.”

“Sounds a lot like you Big Guy.”

“But, he’s been programmed to understand puns.”

“But puns are not really funny are they?”

“Here’s a test for you Pavo.  Someone sent ten puns to Watson, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make him laugh. No pun in ten did.”

Pavo stared at me for a second then shuffled across his perch to the opposite side of the cage.  “Put the cover on my cage Big Guy.  I think it’s time for me to sleep on this new information.  Maybe it’ll be funny tomorrow.”


About D. B. Guy

ex-traveler, ex-Navy vet, ex-depression baby, long time retiree, current lounge chair occupant, husband, grandfather, computer novice-junkie, man-about-town(ret.), jolly good fellow
This entry was posted in My Pal Pavo. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Watson

  1. Jean says:

    Hi Mr. Guy,

    If you are talking to Pavo about Watson and Crick again, tell him about Rosalind Franklin and her pioneering work. To use a football metaphor, Watson and Crick snatched the ball from her and ran with it all the way to score major touchdowns and win even the Super Bowl! (The Nobel Prizes.) As scientists, they adhered to the time honored academic principle of “Publish or Perish”. They published. She perished



    • D. B. Guy says:

      Miss Jean:

      I printed a copy of your response and put it on the floor of Pavo’s cage. It only took him a few minutes to come up with an assessment of your situation. He divined that that you are a true feminist, a musician and live on the edge of the ocean. With that in mind he opined, “She’s a smart lady, committed to undoing injustices, knows how to tune a piano, but can’t tuna fish.”

      D.B. Guy

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