Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What An Animal!

Once, when we lost our TV remote control our grown son opted to sit two feet away from the television, so that he could change the television channels with his feet. Is this an argument for or against evolution?

I can see it both ways.

“What are you doing?” I asked, watching oldest son deftly scroll through a hundred cable channels with his big toe.

“Seeing what’s on.”

“Ever think of standing up and walking to the television?”

“Why? I have toes.”

Channel-changing-feet-skills might be considered a sign that in some distant past our kind surfed the primordial foliage using, for the most part, toes. Or, it could be taken as evidence that no one and nothing evolves—ever—not in a million, cabillion years.

According to the essays I’m reading in college, we are all animals with toes—made up of evolutionary itches, created by quixotic chemicals, prompted by migratory messages, driven by seasonal tidal fluxes and the nagging need to keep our DNA from drying out. We are animals with feet and toes and evolutionary baggage, just like sea cucumbers. Oh wait, that doesn’t quite work.

Of course, we could all be vampires, but that is another theory entirely.

I want to go on record.  I don’t want to be an animal. I know about animals. I live on a farm. I grew up in the country. I’ve seen things. Some animals will hump your leg, peck your head, sniff your crotch and hump other animals (not necessarily of their own species) all before you’ve walked halfway to the mailbox—and in front of company.

When our Chow puppy discovered he was a boy, he became a one-dog hump fest. It was horrifying. Teddy would lurk under the porch, waiting to “sandbag” the first leg he spotted.

Especially, when our five-year old daughter started opening the back door, screaming, “Teddy, don’t have sex with me,” before she went out to play.

We once had a turkey that was so mean it chased me through a sandspur patch trying to peck my face off. I’m short. Turkeys are big. I could have wound up with no eyes, and I was barefoot.

I’ve seen vultures and bald eagles fist fighting over raccoon road kill, arguing over who was going to get to wear the coon skin cap, no doubt.

Rabbits are fluffy, adorable cannibals.

My parents owned two roosters that had worked out a tag team system for rape. One rooster would grab a hen by the neck, push her head down in the dirt, and wait while his buddy went about ensuring survival of the fittest. Then they’d switch.

Our next-door neighbor owned two huge white mules—a matched set. They were murderers. When the goats wandered up to nibble out of their feed box, the mules would chomp them with their gigantic yellow mule teeth, give them a good hard shake, snap their necks, and then toss those goats over their shoulder as a warning to the others.

The same neighbor owned a donkey I named Porno Pete.  Pete considered himself quite the well-endowed catch and fancied himself in love with my mares. Porno Pete spent his days standing at the fence line displaying his . . . boy stuff. I had to forbid the grandchildren to look at him. I had to forbid myself from looking at him.

I once saw a baby lamb pull a cross bow out and shoot a vampire. Okay, maybe not.

But hermit crabs, they’re the worst.

Don’t misunderstand. I love animals. I have my vet on speed dial. I am dedicated to the fantasy that my dog could drive my truck if she had opposable thumbs, but I don’t want to be her.

My dog licks herself. She eats . . . unspeakable things. She has an irrational fear of dump trucks, and she lets our Yorkshire terrier dominate her backside on a regular basis.

What are we? A bunch of five-toed channel changing hermit crabs scrabbling around looking for the perfect remote control.

Where were you raised?  A nest made of dryer lint? In a den, dug under the garden gnome?  Snap out of it and get your feet off the furniture. Evolution does not give you the excuse to act like a primordial slug with bad posture.

Of course, it’s a divine design, set in motion by—as the Greeks like to call him—the “unmoved mover.” The Greeks reasoned if all the universe is moving then someone had to be standing in a firm place to set it all in motion, probably while sitting in a big easy chair and by using his big toe to poke at the stars.

Linda (Opposable Thumbs) Zern 

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