chapter 1 videos about M.E. ask dr.x f.a.q. buzz contact m.e. for grown-ups experiments books home
Ask Dr.X

I often have trouble concentrating on my work. There are so many things around here that take my attention away—TV, books, my pet dog. Do you have any suggestions for staying on task?

The most important component of concentration is focus. The ability to clear distractions out of your mind and narrow your attention to what is most important. It often helps to have a specific image to focus on, something that represents what you want to accomplish. For instance, I often choose the image of a lovely, freshly-painted house in a nice neighborhood, burning to the ground, as the family who lived in it stand outside and weep, watching all of their precious possessions float into the sky as smoke and ash.

I’ve always liked the sciences, especially physics. What recommendations do you have for exploring science outside of school?

There are many opportunities to conduct experiments and simple research just by observing the world around you. Simple physics experiments, in particular, are easy to construct with minimal resources. Gravity-based projects are especially popular. For instance, try standing on the roof of a several-story building with a collection of potted plants. Starting with the mass of each plant and the acceleration of gravity(9.8m/s2), you can calculate all sorts of things based upon the results of allowing them to fall until they come into contact with the roofs, hoods and windshields of the cars parked on the street below.

I enjoy sports, but some of my friends really go kind of insane when they watch, shouting and jumping around and everything, and they try to drag me into it. It’s annoying. How do I tell them I just want to relax and appreciate the game without being a letdown?

Athletic events access the older parts of the human brain that helped our species survive in prehistoric times. Because that primal energy is what your friends are tapping into, it might be effective to communicate with them in a way that their more primitive selves would understand: With a large, hefty club.

The cafeteria at my school is terrible. It’s the same cardboardy food every day, and when it’s not burned to a crisp it’s rubbery and unchewable. I’ve started packing my own lunch, but I don’t have time to do that every day. What do you suggest?

It’s always an unfortunate circumstance when one’s regular gustatory facility fails to produce sustenance of a quality and variety to meet one’s most basic needs. There are a number of solutions to this problem, but the one that comes most readily to my mind is the following simple fix: Use your personal army of mechanical servants to completely surround the eating establishment. Then, locate the head cook, chain them to a slowly descending platform above an immense pot of the cafeteria’s own bubbling stew, and continue lowering the platform until they tearfully, pleadingly agree to increase the quality of food. Then you drop them in anyway just as an example to the other cooks of what happens when your lunch is tampered with.

I want to get a birthday gift for a friend of mine, and I’m coming up empty on ideas. I’m trying to get an idea of what he might want without tipping him off to what I’m up to. What should I do?

If you absolutely must partake in the yearly ritual of gift-giving, there is one sure-fire way to ascertain knowledge of your friend’s wishes. First, your friend must be rendered unconscious, preferably by way of a heavy tranquilizer. Then, move your unconscious friend to a secure spot, and attach the Mindprobe. If you do not possess a mindprobe, you can write to me for detailed instructions on creating one. The mindprobe will pull the thoughts from his mind like a splinter from a thumb, and reveal all of his darkest and most hidden wishes to you.