Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 03.31.09
Stanstead, Quebec


Science Fair: Home Edition

Experiment #1: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Hypothesis: Lying will set your pants on fire. This is due to the chemical effects of stress, friction, volatile untruth, and vicious taunting.

Introduction: Three subjects were assigned different roles in this experiment.

Subject A lied consistently (ex. "It wasn't me," "I didn't hit her," "I don't have any homework"). Subject B didn't necessarily lie but didn't tell the entire truth (ex. "He did it too," "He hit me first," "I don't think I have any homework"). Subject C consistently told the truth (ex. "I did it," "I would have hit her too if I'd had the chance," "You're the best dad in the whole wide world!").

Each subject was accused of lying and told that their pants were aflame as a result.

Observation: Subject A stormed out of the house, admonishing the heads of the household for being the worst parents ever. Smoke was observed but no actual flames; one observer suspected the smoke to be of a tobacco variety, but this was unconfirmed.

Subject B holed up in her room and wrote in her diary; though the subject was out of view, the smoke detector was not engaged, suggesting no pants-related fires.

Subject C was completely exonerated and allowed to stay up a good hour past her bedtime on the condition that she promise to take care of her parents when they are old.

Conclusion: Lying will not ignite pants. However, chronic prevarication can result in singed socks and nerves.

Experiment #2: What's That in the Fridge?

Hypothesis: That an unknown substance left in a plastic container in the refrigerator will remain there in perpetuity.

Introduction: A foodstuff of uncertain origin was deposited in the refrigerator at some unknown time in the past. Said foodstuff was sealed in a semi-opaque container (i.e. old yogurt container). Over a period of ten weeks, household members were observed interacting with the foodstuff.

Observation: 48 percent of users shuffled the sealed container to make room for other sealed containers of similarly unknown substances or to look for the Cheez Whiz.

21.5 percent of users removed the sealed container from the fridge, removed the lid, said, "Eww!" and returned it to the fridge.

14 percent of users thought foodstuff was, in fact, yogurt and spooned it on their muesli.

8 percent of users never made it that far back in the fridge, because they apparently don't know how to move a few things to find what they're looking for, even though if it had teeth it would bite them.

And 2.5 percent asked their spouse, "Does this taste off to you?"

Conclusion: The hypothesis is partially proven. An unknown substance will remain in the refrigerator in perpetuity unless it is disposed of in a soup, casserole or major power outage.

Experiment #3: Are Dogs Natural Landscapers?

Hypothesis: Dogs are natural landscapers.

Introduction: A dog purchased against the better judgment of one of the observers was attached to a chain at the front of the house, allowing access to a cedar bush and a large expanse of lawn. No further instructions were given other than, "Stay outside, stupid dog, you're driving me crazy."

Observation: The new dog immediately began landscaping by indiscriminately digging holes in the lawn and chewing all the branches off the cedar bush like a starving deer in the dead of winter. Within weeks, the area was unrecognizable.

Conclusion: Dogs are natural landscapers. What dogs are not is smart enough to figure out how to untangle their chains from around the cedar trunk other than to bark that loud, irritating bark that causes the observer to storm out of the house in his pajamas to unwrap the stupid dog, swearing that, as God is his witness, he's going to cut down that bloody cedar with a chain saw!

NB: Conclusion may be biased, as the observer has clearly lost his objectivity and his mind.