I’m rethinking my stance on early humans.
Oh sure, I’ve always been impressed with the early Homo clan. The habilis, the neanderthalensis, sapiens, of course. And erectus is always the life of the party.
(‘Erectus’? Why, he barely even knows us!)
I’ve always given these people — and almost-people and reasonable-facsimiles-of-people and someday-may-be-people-if-they-just-learn-to-stand-up-straight-and-invent-the-internet-already — a lot of credit. I mean, some of us started from rather humble beginnings. But these guys came out of the freaking trees. Just the logistics of that are mind-blowing.
(Like, do you rake the lawn in the fall if you live in a tree? And is the ground the ‘lawn’, or the branches? Do you pick the leaves off and let the squirrels deal with them? Tape them back on for decoration? I’ve got no idea. And these guys had brains the size of a Skittle. I don’t see how they ever worked this stuff out.)
“When you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps — without the advantage of knowing what a ‘boot’ is, what you’d strap it to, or whether it would clash with your kicky sabertooth-skin-and-mud ensemble — then you’ve really accomplished something.”
So I figured there’s a lot to be said for these early humanoid pioneers. When you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps — without the advantage of knowing what a ‘boot’ is, what you’d strap it to, or whether it would clash with your kicky sabertooth-skin-and-mud ensemble — then you’ve really accomplished something. Or so I thought.
See, my reverence for early humans always came from the idea that they kept themselves busy evolving. Whereas we might waste time picking out a fancy smartphone cover or taking pictures of our food, these folks were doing practical stuff. Growing new brain parts. Opposablizing their thumbs. Setting up GeoCities pages, probably. I was always in awe of these creatures, our intrepid ancestors, who — in the span of a few short hundreds of thousands of years — learned to stand upright, to use tools and to communicate effectively.
Then I had to wake up at six-thirty this morning. And everything changed.
I emerged from the primordial ooze of the bed, schlumpy and dazed. I’m sure something dragged on the floor as I lurched toward the bathroom — knuckles, knees, maybe an Underoos assflap — but by the time I got there I was at least partially unhumped and standing on just my feet.
I spent a few minutes trying to make water come out of the shower head. I knew I’d seen it happen before, but the voodoo magic to make it occur escaped me. Banging on the shower head with my fists didn’t seem to work. Screaming unintelligible nonsense at it wasn’t helping, either. I tried to bribe it, but it refused the cash. I was out of ideas. Clearly, coercing a shower head is a little different than dealing with a Congressman.
Slowly, it dawned on me to concentrate on the little control level further down the wall. It wouldn’t take the money, either — is there a hidden camera in the shower, or what? — but when I punched at it, a little trickle of liquid shot down into the tub. With a little trial and error, I eventually had a solid stream of water that was at a temperature somewhere between the bottom of the La Brea tar pits and a skinny dip off the Bering Land Bridge.
I finished my shower to find the dog outside the bathroom door, head cocked and looking at me with her usual expression that says: ‘Grhmph?‘
So I said: ‘Grhmph?‘ It was the best I could manage at the time. No brainy thinking thing before seven in morning am doing.
Gradually, we reached some level of mutual understanding. It was like our own rendition of ‘Dances with Wolves’ — a ‘Waltzes with Weimaraners’, if you will.
(Yes, she’s a pit bull. I’ve got nothing clever for that. Move it along, smartass.)
She made it clear, through a series of short barks and pawing at her dish, that she needed food. I conveyed that I was busy passing out exhausted on the kitchen floor, by passing out exhausted on the kitchen floor. She indicated that she was eagerly ready to take her morning constitutional around the block for a little sunshine and exercise, by dropping a turd on the living room carpet. I countered by communicating the opinion that she was a stubborn little bitch and I should have sold her to a Vietnamese takeout place years ago, by… well, by saying exactly those words, pretty much. There may have been some interpretive dance involved, as well. It’s kind of a blur.
We came to an accord, which involved me feeding her, cleaning up her shit and walking her around the block. Because clearly, I’m the Poland in this little superpower play.
But as we sniffed and peed our way through Mrs. Rinaldo’s hydrangeas, it occurred to me what had just happened. All those things I’d been so impressed with the cavemen and their ilk for doing way back when, I’d just accomplished in under an hour. Hell, if I’d lit a match and domesticated a horse or something, I’d have basically taken humanity from gorillas to DaVinci, all in one morning. Those little hairy-knuckled pea-brained slackers took hundreds of thousands of years. That’s not impressive, after all. Maybe if they’d spent less time hunting and gathering and futzing with their AOL dialup connections, they’d have tackled the important stuff faster.
Like me. I’ve apparently got this ‘evolve and adapt’ thing on a fast track over here. Any of you people want an extra arm or ESP or ultimate enlightened consciousness, you know where to find me. I’ll grow something for you and let you know how it turns out.
Unless I’ve got to get up before eight to do it. That shit is for the Neanderthals.Permalink | 1 Comment