Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blind leading the bound

Derick William Dalton does not look his age, nor does he act it (but that's a different story). Mostly he laughs about it when others are surprised by his years, as he is much less droopy and bald and gray than he ought to be. On occasion though, it bothers him, and I'm trying to find out why.

A few days ago at his "job" (notice I didn't say work, because he doesn't) it happened again, and I got to hear him telling someone about it on the phone. "Blah blah blah lecture on stuff they read on the internet, yadda yadda tell me how to do my job." That was the first ten minutes of the conversation, although "conversation" isn't really accurate because the person on the other end had a chance to say three words, tops. Then my favorite quote of the conversation: "I hate it when my baby face is all people can see!"

Well, human boy, you insist on wearing clothes, so that's their only option. I got more confused as he continued his ranting, something about two bastard's degrees. I thought I knew what that word meant, and I certainly didn't think it was insulting, especially for most reptiles who don't even know their parents, much less have some kind of community-supported connection. Perhaps I don't understand, as how would one earn that title twice? The only explanation that makes sense to me is his parents married after he was conceived and then divorced before he was born. I may never know, as that's not really a polite-company conversation topic, especially not to ask of the person who provides the food. Although with a cup of tea, an extended pinky, and a British accent, it might be fine. "I say, Nigel, word is you're illegitimate as the son of a cockney dilly, what?"

The connection of the timing of his birth, parents' marital status, and his appearance is beyond me. I do know this, though. People make an awful big deal out of their physical attributes when they don't even look any different than a fetus. What's the point if you are going to be soft and weak and helpless and then try to look like it too? They don't develop anything to be proud of like wings, claws, tails, gills, poisonous stingers or fangs, or best of all shells. Their physical strength relative to weight makes me embarrassed for them. They can't even detoxify their own waste, so they have to dilute it with huge volumes of water and spend hours peeing.

See, if turtles were as vain as humans, we'd have useful elective surgeries such as a teflon-coating of the plastron for smoother maneuvering across the ground. Well, females anyway. Males need to, how shall I say, have a high coefficient of friction to maintain a certain angle at certain times. They might go in for a good shell buffing on occasion, though, perhaps a remodeling of the supracaudal and marginal scutes of the carapace for easier burrowing.

But we aren't and we don't. We look old from hatching on, and don't feel the need to mess with nature. Close your eyes once in a while: droopy and bald and gray disappear for free, and suddenly firm and flowing and lustrous don't matter.

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