It was as if I had wasted every moment of existence up to

me in every possible way. It had never occurred to me that any farm boy
or other human being, in Indiana or elsewhere, would ever willingly have sex with an
animal, and yet here was printed evidence in a respectable publication that a

proportion of them had at least given it a try. (The article was a touch coy on how
enduring these relationships were.) But even more amazing than the fact itself was the
finding of it. The Encyclopaedia Britannica ran to twenty-three volumes spread over
eighteen thousand pages—some fifty million words in all, I would estimate—and
Willoughby had found the only riveting paragraph in the whole lot. How did he do it?
Who reads the Encyclopaedia Britannica?
Willoughby and his brothers opened new worlds, unsuspected levels of possibility, for
me. It was as if I had wasted every moment of existence up to then. In their house
anything could be fascinating and entertaining. Willoughby shared a bedroom with his
brother Joe, who was one year older and no less brilliant at science. Their room was

more Air Force 1
laboratory than bedroom. There was apparatus everywhere—beakers, vials, retorts,
Bunsen burners, jars of chemicals of every description—and books on every subject
imaginable, all well-thumbed: applied mechanics, wave mechanics, electrical Air Max 1 Mens
engineering, mathematics, pathology, military history. The Willoughby boys were always
doing something large-scale and ambitious. They made their own helium balloons. They
made their own rockets.

17.12.13 10:35


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