Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Linearity of Pity and the Little Old Lady of Truth

Category: Issue 18

Let’s face it: you could clone me,
And the clone would turn out great. 
You couldn’t even blame it
On something that she ate!

I read in the newspaper the other day, somewhere, that scientists have just discovered that we Homo Sapiens (well, some of us) have, after all, some genes in common with Neanderthal Person (ordinarily known as Neantherthal Man, but hey).  Somebody did something with somebody, ages ago. It’s In The Literature. Up until recently it was thought (or felt) that we weren’t related to the Primative Neanderthals at all, (well, not much), and that in fact we had killed them off due to our being much more intelligent. 

Interestingly, according to the Latest News, we have some genes in common with them, and the only people who don’t have the same genes in common with them are Africans, those dastardly black people who keep ruining certain peoples’ theories. 

Apparently, the way that people spread out from Africa kind of meant that the ones that stayed in Africa (the Africans) didn’t tend to leave.  So you can find a lot of Neanderthal genes in your basic English person or Chinese person, but not so much in your basic African person, because the Neanderthals and the other people who left Africa (probably because they were kicked out for some reason, ahem) were out there killing new animals and each other and having sex and stuff, but the Africans just stayed in Africa and killed the usual animals, and just had sex with each other and had a fine time.

The difference boils down to the fact that everybody except the Africans are more similar to the chimpanzee than your basic Africans are.  I love this. 
Ahem, chortle, anyway never mind. 

Admittedly, I am not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.  Too, I do get most of my information from the science pages of newspapers and from National Geographic, but so did my ancestors/fellow tribe members, eg. my Auntie Madeline and Uncle Bob, who looked after me one summer when I had a broken leg.  They got really annoyed when I cut out some nice pictures of ducks from their National Geographic magazines, to paste in my quickly forgotten scrapbook. (I had been drawing pictures of horses and buffalos all over the walls of their cabin, and they were all right with that.  Sadly, they drew the line, as adults often do, just when I was least expecting it.)

I am now very sorry about the duck pictures.  My aunt and uncle are dead now, but I am now sorry that I did that.  I’m not sure I ever apologized.  Duh.  It was such a stupid thing to do that I probably never mentioned it, and neither did they, years later.  Now, so many years later, well.  At the time, at ten years old, I thought they were being anal.  And I think they hated me a bit for wrecking their National Geographic magazines, and never really forgave me.  BUT:  They were such good pictures of ducks, and I was making a scrapbook!    

Now.  Do you feel SORRY for your ancestors because they are dead?  Did I feel sorry for my aunt and uncle because they were so old, and worried about their Natonal GeographicsI mean, what were they going to do with them anyway? You can’t take it with you!

As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed that there’s an actual feeling-sorry-for quotient that increases, or decreases, or something, the older you get relative to the older or younger person who is feeling sorry for you for being so young or old. When you are really young, of course, you are an idiot for being so young.  There’s no arguing with this.  You are.  You can’t do anything by yourself and you feel dumb. This goes on for a fairly long time, until you get old enough to not be felt sorry for for being so young.  Then there’s this cool period called “The Prime of Your Life” in which stuff is supposed to happen. God help you if it doesn’t.  Let’s just say it does. Soon enough, anyway, a whole new challenge arises:  Everybody feels sorry for you because you are Getting so Old! 

What is WITH this???  I suppose the only person to complain about this would be someone like me, NOW, who is starting to notice that people are feeling sorry for me because I’m getting OLD.  People were condescending and so forth when I was younger, and, sadly, the odd person has been condescending to me in the Prime of My Life… Good grief, I could tell you stories… but it did not occur to me to complain at the time, because I figured that I could deal with it… But what do you do about people feeling sorry for you because you are Getting Old? 

I mean, um, well, I mean, it um HAPPENS. If I start clipping duck pictures out of people’s National Geographic magazines now, I’m done for. Rightly so.  But it’s not as if I would. At this late date, a person has to stop looking like someone who MIGHT. It’s hard, when a person starts looking more and more like the picture of Neanderthol Man, I mean Person, in National Geographic, c. 1970. 

It is not as if there is anything I can DO about this. I don’t really believe that Time is as Linear as it’s cracked up to be, but you’d have to watch an awful lot of (recent) National Geographic programs to become convinced of that. Anyway, it’s completely obvious that the people who are feeling sorry for me now are going to be objects of pity themselves, for Getting Old, pretty soon, and are just feeling cocky because they are in the Primes of Their Lives.  I hope they are Getting Something Done.  I remember feeling sorry for that old woman, there was an old woman, who used to hate us for playing under her weeping willow tree.  Why did she hate us so much?

Why did she hate us so much? 

I think we were irritating little jerks, that’s why.  If I had it to do over again, I’d stay off her lawn and let her enjoy her weeping willow tree in peace. 

However.  What if time isn’t linear? What if I DO have it to do over again?  Or, eternally?  And she, too? 

I bet if we do, we will all have access to the same newspapers and National Geographic magazines.  Children will be wiser and will never cut out duck pictures to paste in fly-by-night scrapbooks.  No one will ever sneer at anyone on the basis of anything again.  The Neanderthals will get the credit they deserve, and so will the Africans. National Geographic will figure out the details. We will all live happily ever after. 


Posted by julianyway on 05/13 at 06:04 PM | Permalink
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