Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Neanderthals Don't Shop

Sad to say, but based on the available evidence the human species is most likely doomed. We're all going down fast, to the tune of 7 billion skulls screaming with senseless, self-involved noise. Observing human behavior can be a real bummer ( a sixties term recently experiencing a kind of renaissance), and trying to isolate oneself from it isn't all that easy. Sure, you can stay indoors with the curtains closed, unplug the phone, turn the flat screen into a postmodern hotplate; the weirdness still somehow finds a way to creep in. It sneaks up and grabs hold while you're sitting there staring at the wall, humming a mantra taught to you by an alcoholic Buddhist priest with an affinity for Playboy pinups and ping pong. There is no escape.

So how bad is it, really?
Consider that average human intelligence is in decline; inversely proportional, as it turns out, to the average increase in human body mass. Basically, the more you eat the less you know.
Primary causes of intelligence deterioration: TV and organized religion.  Those who spend their time watching religious TV are obviously at greatest risk. Sitting on a couch somewhere in Kentucky, a bag of chips and a can of coke within chubby arm reach, watching the Reverend Billy Joe Bombast proselytize Jesus for profit. Ever try shouting Hallelujah! with a mouthful of potato chips? It ain't pretty.
 Goodbye brains.

But it even gets worse.
Probably my own fault for watching the apparently interminable number of news broadcasts on the sheer shopping savagery associated with 'Black Friday'; appropriately named, by the way, as it's apparently the perfect medium for bringing out the darkest aspects of human nature. I mean, people beating each other senseless to save 30 bucks on a thousand roll super jumbo pack of toilet paper (made in China, needless to say)? Any wonder no alien race has yet seen fit to contact us? Assuming of course that after picking up a latent transmission of Leave It To Beaver from 1957 an extraterrestrial species would even be inclined to make the 100 light year trip (for those interested in the unfathomable distances of interstellar space, one light year is equal to 9 trillion 500 billion kilometers).  A long drive no matter how you slice it.

All of which possibly explains why I'm feeling suddenly nostalgic for that neglected, often misunderstood sub-genus of so called modern humans, the Neanderthals.
And no, I do not refer to the large, hairy guy with the narrow forehead and highly questionable bathing habits you once agreed to date (hey, you were in a dark place, readily conducive to acts of masochism and self-loathing). The Neanderthals were a hearty band of tough bastards who managed to not only survive but thrive for 250,000 years, a large portion of which was serious ice age. By comparison, the dubious human experiment is a mere 50,000 years old. The Neanderthals had bigger brains than we do, inflicted zero damage on the environment and, according to certain interpretations of the geological record, generally formed orderly lines outside caves; the reasons for which are not entirely clear, but some sort of Paleolithic Super Sale cannot be entirely ruled out.
Unfortunately, the Neanderthal ran into early human Cro-Magnon and subsequently went extinct, quite likely from human germs their immune systems couldn't tolerate. (Flash forward to the 16th Century, the Spanish Conquistadors come ashore in the New World and similarly wipe out entire native Indian populations.)

Too bad, really.  How cool would it be if the Neanderthal had somehow survived and were with us still; assuming, of course, they were able to deal with the whole "don't wear fur" thing. They could have their own continent, Antarctica, for example; live in stylish ice caves and, when absolutely necessary, shop online for Eddie Bauer down jackets. They could work as tour guides for humans visiting the South Pole.

Human tourist: "So hey, Neanderthal guy, I really want to see the ice. You got any of that around here?"

Like I said, smaller brains.

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