Ask Dr. Scientist #1: Can I Live Like a Vampire? - 12/17/09

Q: Dear Dr. Scientist
Can i be a vampire? I know u r gonna be mean & say that vampires don't exist, but i'm really curious. If i really try, could i live like a vampire?

A: Dear GothGurl,
If I was a real scientist or medical doctor (and not just a guy with a useless philosophy PhD and an unfortunate last name), I would tell you to stop being silly and go find some friends. But I'm not, so I'll answer your question.

If you really insist on trying to live like a vampire, here are some tips on what will work - and what won't.

1) Avoid daylight

This one's easy enough - in today's cubicle society, many people do this anyway. To totally avoid daylight, however, you're going to need to step up your game. No leaving your house all day. No more beach trips. And unless you're a coal miner, you're probably going to need to quit your job, or become an overnight security guard, like I did to pay for grad school. Being a security guard would probably help you in cornering victims, actually... but I digress. Basically, you're going to have to become even more of a recluse than somebody who wishes they were a vampire probably already is. Maybe you can get one of those jobs making $1,000 a day to surf the internet. Hey, why limit your fictional goals to becoming a vampire?

2) Subsist only on blood

OK, already we're run into problems. Trouble is, the human stomach isn't really built for digesting blood - more than a few milliliters and you're probably going to vomit, which is a good thing, actually, considering all the diseases you're getting from ingesting other peoples' blood. The bigger issue, though, is that blood doesn't really have much nutritional value, even if you could keep it down. So essentially you're just going to waste away after a couple days, like anyone would who isn't eating or drinking anything (true vampires don't even drink water). Only different is your wasting will be punctuated by occasional blood-puking. What fun.

3) Bite people

You're going to need a strong stomach for this one, or at least strong arms, as most people don't react well to strangers chomping into their jugulars. I recommend aiming for victims smaller than you are, like children, who are also easier to catch/lure to your late-night security guard post. Don't let the fact that children have less blood deter you: how much blood do you really need, after all? It's not like you're going to keep it down. Of course, there's also the matter of all this being highly illegal, and the cops soon being very much after you... but hey, you're someone who wants to be a vampire. Conforming to society probably isn't your strong suit anyway.

4) Live forever

Wouldn't we all like to? Unfortunately, unless you're a pseudo-vampire who also has discovered the fountain of youth, I'm afraid you're stuck to anti-aging creams and eventually biting people with your dentures, like the rest of us.

5) Avoid Holy Water and garlic

He's one you can do! It just means staying away from churches, Italian restaurants, and Pizza Hut's amazing new Garlic Parmesan Wings. As tough as that last one might sound, I hope you stopped seriously considering doing this after the biting children and vomiting blood parts.

6) Avoid stakes to the heart

I'm hoping you were doing this anyway.

7) Have fangs

Certainly possible with the right orthodontist. This means you're going to need a somewhat well-off vampire, however - you won't be able to afford this level of cosmetic dental work on a security guard's salary. And you don't want to be one of those vampires with crappy plastic fangs. Nobody takes those vampires seriously.

8) Not have a reflection

I'm sorry, when did vampires stop obeying even the most basic laws of physics?

9) Get bit by another vampire

How do you become a vampire in the first place? Besides reading too much gothic teenage angst literature and writing into silly websites, I mean? Well according to legend, you're supposed to get bit by an already existing vampire. And as we covered in the prologue, there are no real vampires, so you're out of luck there. But if you mean getting bit by an already existing person like you, who's just pretending to be a vampire... You might just have a chance. Assuming, of course, that you can find one who hasn't yet starved to death, been arrested, or given up and gone to Pizza Hut.

So, in conclusion...

You can't really be a vampire. You can take on a few characteristics of one, but nothing enough to really convince anybody of anything. Except, perhaps, convince moody teenagers to fall in love with you. And let's be honest. Isn't that what you were really after in the first place?

-Dr. Scientist



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