Michael Campbell

Story Time.

You Say You Want an Evolution

by | May 25, 2012 | Uncategorized

So the president’s opinion on gay marriage is evolving. I know better to jump into that discussion, so…

[ jump! ]

He chooses his words carefully. Evolving is not the same as changing. To evolve is to develop new characteristics ever so slowly, so slowly you can’t even see it happen, but eventually you’re distinctly different. You change your mind. You evolve a new head.

So probably he didn’t change his mind. Probably he’s trying hard to make baby steps because everyone around him asks him to. He has to evolve. But we’ll never know, will we?

Evolution is like that. We never know. For all the arguments about the science of species evolution [ jump! ] there really isn’t any evidence of it. Darwin had no “theory of evolution.” He proposed only that better-adapted animals were more likely to breed, which explains why Andy Warhol didn’t have kids. There’s plenty of evidence for birds changing colors or dogs breeding floppier skin, but there’s no evidence of birds becoming dogs. The familiar illustration of hunchy little monkeys growing taller and straighter until they suddenly become a guy in a pinstripe suit looks viable enough, but no one has any evidence of it.

Then, of course, if monkeys evolved into humans, why are there still monkeys around? They live without destroying their environment, engaging in an endlessly sustainable existence. If anything, humans ought to be evolving into chimps.

Only God knows, and as y’all are quick to point out, I am not a god. But if I were, if I could steer evolution, I’d do a few things differently.

I think eyeballs would be better mounted on the end of fingers. That way you could look over high shelves, spy over fences, see where your keys fell under the grate, and get a better look at your bald spot. Hammering a nail would require a little extra courage, but in return the head would be one solid bony helmet, protecting our precious brain.

Our nose would be better served on fingers too, so we can figure out where that stink is coming from without all the stooping. Ears too. So I guess my future human would be just a bunch of sense organs at the end of spindly appendages. Sort of a radar array anemone.

Testicles front and center, bouncing in a thin sack like two kids conking heads in the back seat of a car on a bumpy road — whose idea was that? If balls are so important, shouldn’t they be tucked safely inside? Like inside the brain? Where they wouldn’t be a bulls-eye target for every baseball? Where we wouldn’t have to see them? Eyeballs are surrounded by protective bone, yet our future dangles fragile as eggs.

Scientists marvel  that testicles rise and fall like a yo-yo (okay, two yo-yos), to coddle our temperature-sensitive sperm. Isn’t’ that genius?  Hey — humans can control the temperature of an office tower with a twist of a thermostat. Women managed to keep their goodies tucked safely inside. Maybe women are just more evolved.

Fauna is full of variety: gills, feathers, fingers, spines. But there’s also a curious consistency: almost all animals have a nose. Two eyes. Not one, not three. Appendages in pairs, even though a tripod would be far more stable — just ask a kangaroo. Did God restrict himself to a palette of building blocks much like Legos, from which he could build anything, but everything would look like he built it?

Did a giraffe get a long neck so he could eat leaves high on a tree, or does he eat leaves high on a tree because he always had a long neck? Maybe Adam and Eve were plopped onto this Earth as two beautifully, fully-formed adults, tender feet nestled in soft green grass. Maybe the only thing evolving is opinions. For that reason alone, maybe I should respect them more.


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