A House for the Feeble-Minded

Adapted from the short story 'Profession' by Isaac Asimov

by Fred Hsu

It's year 7023 BC. The Earth exports "reading tapes" and "education tapes" to thousands of colonies in the outer worlds. Young men and women are 'taped' at the age of 8 so they can read. They become adults at the age of 18 by participating in the Education Day where each person has his brains analyzed and taped for the most suitable profession. Roughly 1 in every 100,000 teenagers both on Earth and on the colonies is found to be unsuitable for taping, and is sent to a "House for the Feeble-minded" on Earth for protection. George Platen is one such poor soul and shares a room with Hali Omani for the past 6 months.

(Both): Oh, our dreams were broken.
        They locked us up in this mad house.

George: They said I could not be...
Hali:     could not be...
(Both): a Registered Programmer.

George: They said my brain was...
Hali:     your brain was...
(Both): unsuitable for download!

(Both): The tapes of knowledge we sought,
        Upgraded every year.
        Three minutes on your doctor's chair,
        Lets you practice a new profession with flair.

George: While everyone is out there
        Enjoying his taped career,
        I sit with the uneducated,
        Learning from books,
        One page at a time,
Hali:     I have no problem with this arrangement
(Both) One page at a time!


George: Hali! have you ever wondered,
        who makes new tapes every year?

(Both): How did he get taped so
        he could make more new tapes every year?
        And who makes tapes to tape
        he who makes tapes every year?

George: Er, I guess that would be... us?

Hali:   George! Your creative mind
        Cannot be tape.

(Both): You'll teach yourself out of books,
          I'll teach myself out of books,
        Create new knowledge day and night.

Hali:   You know...
George:   Now I know
(Both): This so-called
        House for the Feeble-minded
        is in fact
        an Institute for Higher Studies!