“Chronicles regarding The Macabre Foundry of Dr. Geoffrey P. Nutterbolt (robot) – spécialisés les questions de l’amour and (amateur) surgeon” by Ashlan Nathens
Love is, after all, utterly inexplicable and completely abstract – in ways that only a human, unfettered by logic and reason, can comprehend.
Inherent to the human condition is the inability to predetermine whom we will fall stupidly in love with. Us sapiens have written tome upon tome on the subjects of romance, dating, life companionship, compatibility, marriage, surviving divorce, finding someone new, how to choose authentic French linen in a world full of convincingly well-crafted knock-offs… and none of it gets anyone any closer to having an answer. It’s really all just more crap with which to fill our heads and make us anxious until “it” happens. You know, you just stumble into someone at some point and, in that very moment, the rest of your life is right there in that space between you.
The same is not true of robots, and most especially in the case of Dr. Geoffrey P. Nutterbolt (robot) and his infamous Macabre Foundry of Love Research. To him, Life is not a series of increasingly more complicated and interwoven questions and concepts; it is a series of well-ordered I/0 arguments leading to absolutes of the very highest order. In fact, Dr. Nutterbolt’s first and possibly greatest triumph to date was to establish a definitive answer¹ to The Ultimate Question ‘What is Life?’ by stating: “The location of the nearest functioning power point².” There were several Droids in the audience when Dr. Nutterbolt presented this finding who found it utterly objectionable and derided him at length; only to help him establish the finding in a more concrete way when he locked them in the auditorium and cut the main power. Quod erat demonstrandum, eh?
Having satisfied some of his critics (and sufficiently silenced the remainder) he went on to tackle the next big question “What is love?” and thus was established the Macabre Foundry of Love Research and Surgery. Amidst a ghastly storm of dissection and examination, Geoffrey began to establish a definite lack of any biological constants or scientifically relevant similarities between lovers. In fact, the more people Geoffrey chopped up, it became increasingly clear that
- nothing at all was being proven by any of it, and
- He was a terrible surgeon. A sign reading “Macabre Foundry of Love Research and Amateur Surgery” was hastily ordered, and experimentation resumed.
Men, women, elderly, young, black, white – no matter how you put people together it was quite simply one person loving another and it was wonderful… and completely inexplicable to Geoffrey. He attempted to manipulate his personal construction by adding various bits and pieces of human off-cuts; perhaps by installing a human brain and extending his thought-patterns beyond an I/0 series, he hypothesized “love” would become a more tactile, evaluative sensory process. Something that could be recorded in excel, or at least a list of things proceeded by fun little bullet points. However, it became rapidly quite apparent to him that the brain had very little to do with “love” – or at least, independently, it did not function as a definitive “love detector”. He did try turning it off and back on again several times to make completely sure, but immediately experienced a blinding headache. All told, he developed recurring dizzy spells, debilitating social awkwardness and an appreciation of professional-level comedic timing³, but came no closer to understand what Love is.
“Ahah!” exclaimed Geoffrey, “If not the brain, perhaps a human heart is where it’s all at? The solution to the definition of Love must be in this organ, for humans are forever waxing lyrical about the wild beating of their racing hearts – there must be something to it!” Many distasteful evenings in surgery followed; none bare even the briefest retelling other than the evening an elderly Coventry resident’s car broke down around the corner from the Macabre Foundry and she found herself knocking on a certain door underneath a rather new-looking sign. Upon surgical “examination” of this old woman, Geoffrey discovered not all humans actually have hearts. Having no use for the remainder of the heartless cadaver, he simply threw it in the bin and thus served humanity in this, arguably his greatest moment.
In total, Dr. Geoffrey Nutterbolt installed 5,713 hearts into his construction in an effort to experience and thus define Love. It was all rather laughably ironic and in some ways paradoxical that a robot, believing in his inherently droid-esque methods of pure analysis, free of human indecision and error, should physically incorporate Human tissue into itself. Droids imitating Life imitating Droids. Didn’t any part of his pilot analysis suggest a consult with Haley Joel Osment might be beneficial? A valid question, dear reader – and one that may have proven helpful to research that has thus far resulted in absolutely and completely no conclusions from the pen of Dr. Geoffrey Nutterbolt.
Love is, after all, utterly inexplicable and completely abstract – in ways that only a human, unfettered by logic and reason, can comprehend. We can express an all-encompassing love, an immeasurably complex and all-consuming love, with a simple smile – yet Dr. Nutterbolt grows no closer to an understanding in his Macabre little chop-shop. And there, still, he works tirelessly – so be ware which doors you knock on in life. And especially don’t come knocking on mine with your fund raising efforts or your church-talk – when I choose to start freely giving away what little money I have, the queue of creditors will stretch from here to the Halls of the Highest. And I’ll start seeking out your church-talk myself when ALL the world’s churches can agree to rejoice under ONE roof, and marry ANY one lover to another regardless of gender. I don’t think that’s so much to ask for a Valentine’s Miracle, is it? Oh, and there should be Valentine’s Miracles.
~Ash Nathens aka the scribbler, 02 February 2014
¹ Geoffrey started the calculations involved in this proof at precisely midday on a lovely Sunday having just enjoyed a late brunch with the Leigh-on-sea chapter of the R2-unit Appreciation Society. His conclusion was finalised just before quarter to seven on the Tuesday morning. Very nearly 06:43, actually. It’s nearly certainly a complete coincidence that the proof took Dr. Nutterbolt precisely 42 Hours, 42 minutes and 42 seconds, but this chronicler thought that the observation was worth sharing.
² He originally prepared the submission that Life could be defined “The location of the nearest functioning compatible power point” but immediately identified that rather a quick dollar could be made by developing Universal Power-point Conversion Units and selling them at conventions. Robots are well-known for forgetting their chargers when away on business (or leaving them in the last hotel) – a grievously mortal error in their case. But why stand in the way of solid science when a little creative innovation could fund your next discovery? That’s the way Geoffrey liked to look at things.
³ Richard Ayoade rather unfortunately knocked on a door (requesting donations for the East Dulwich chapter of the R2-unit Appreciation Society) at the precise moment that two men were busy hanging new signage. The word ‘Amateur’ was rather prominently placed on the sign, and the door was the last Richard ever knocked on. And thus, two stories intertwine and alas! a giant of the comedic industry was lost to us all.
Yes, this scribble is available from my RedBubble store on cards, postcards, stickers & various apparel!