In a stunning announcement today at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, an aggregation of the world’s most wealthy individuals revealed that its team of scientists has succeeded in breeding a camel so small that it can actually fit through the eye of a needle. A very relieved Carlos Slim, the Mexican mobile phone magnate, whose fortune is estimated at over $70 billion, unveiled the tiny dromedary on his fingertip, while holding in his other hand a sewing needle. “See? It fits! It fits! I’m not even squeezing it through or mashing it or anything!” Mr. Slim exulted before breaking down in tears and requiring the comfort of Ingvar Kamprad, the Swedish founder of Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, whose net worth is thought to be in excess of $55 billion.
Assuming the microphone, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, whose fortune is generally believed to be nearly $75 billion, continued, “And please be aware that this is not some novelty oversized needle. In fact, we challenge any independent analysis to prove this needle is anything but standard sized. Asked if the process of miniaturizing a camel was difficult, Mr. Gates deferred to Dr. William McGinnis, an evolutionary microbiologist from the University of California at San Diego and leader of the scientific team that created the “down-scaled” animal.
Dr. McGinnis explained, “The gene splicing and sequencing were the easy parts. The problem, however, was at normal reproduction rates, it would have taken us hundreds of years and thousands of generations just to get a camel down to the size of a watermelon. But, as Mr. Buffet was fond of reminding our children, whom he has been graciously hosting on his estate, ‘I’m over 80, so your dads have got three years, tops.’ The breakthrough came when we realized that with a diet of non-organic, growth hormone-infused foods commonly available in grocery stores, we could accelerate the onset of puberty in the camels, enabling us to design an aggressive speed-breeding program.”
Interjecting at that point was Dr. Tom Maniatis, an expert in the field of molecular cloning from Harvard, who added, “But once we achieved the requisite dimension, we were confronted by the biggest challenge of them all. For the life of us, if I may use that term finally in its metaphoric sense, we could not get the camel to walk through the eye of the needle. We made camel sounds, tried all of its favorite foods, placed a series of 72 mating partners on the other side, even got down on our knees and begged, but nothing worked, and our deadline was approaching fast.”
“So,” a seemingly disembodied voice continued, “we realized we would have to adapt the miniaturization protocol to humans and conducted a round robin of rock — paper and scissors, I discovered too late.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Amancio Ortega of Spain, whose clothing and real estate interests have enabled him to amass a fortune of $56 billion, stepped forth, “allow me to introduce Dr. Huntington Willard, Director of the Institute for Genome Studies at Duke University, and the first person who rode our camel, whom we named Paradise, through the eye of the needle.”
When asked what was meant by “the first,” Dr. Willard answered, “Oh, forgive me for neglecting to introduce my wife, Janine. Janine, do you need a boost to say hello?” To which a voice of an unseen female answered, “Don’t touch me.”
In response to a final question of whether this new scientific advance would be used to ease the impact of population overcrowding and the depletion of natural resources and whether the world’s wealthiest would continue their generous philanthropy, the assembled magnates laughed so uncontrollably, they repeatedly slammed their hands on the podium.