We know we have evolved beyond the wilds of Mother Nature because we clip our fingernails. Or we paint and polish them. We know we’ve evolved because we pierce our earlobes and fill them with bits of pretty metal. We know we’ve evolved beyond the wilds because we’ve invented toilets and sewers and landfills. We’re evolved because we use Charmin, or White Cloud, or Cottonelle. And if we’re really evolved, we use a bidet. (That’s right, some of us are more evolved than others of us.) Many of us gargle with Scope or Listerine; this is yet another indication of our evolved status in the animal kingdom. We use Speed Stick and Right Guard (but hopefully not at the same time). For these reasons, and many others, we belong at the tippy top of the food chain. Included with the aforementioned “many others”: the fact that we drink bottled water; and the fact that we use Sharper Image gadgets to trim the hair out of our respective nostrils. (Well, I do. Does that make me more evolved than you?) We are evolved because we have Jerry Springer, and Maury Povich, and Dr. Phil—and my personal favorite, Deborah Norville. We are evolved thanks to Verizon Wireless. True, we were evolved when we were all wired; but a wire is a tether, and we tether dogs, and horses, and folks with either cruel or kinky aims. But have you ever seen a lion chug a Miller Light? No. You haven’t. Not unless it’s been trained to chug. Why? Because they aren’t as evolved as we are. You’ll never see them peeling the label off of a beer bottle, either. We are evolved because we have Turtle Wax. We have Oxy pads and Clearasil. These are the things that make us better. Better than the apes. We’re better because we have polyester. We’re better because we have floss. And those of us who actually use it are even better than those of us who don’t. But even if you don’t use it, it’s always good to know it’s there. Isn’t it. Because, someday, you know you’ll floss. And we’re evolved because we have dentures, if need be. We’re better because our teenage children habitually spit at the sidewalk for no reason at all. Somehow, spitting, simply because one can, is cool. Mayhap teenage spitters are marking their territory. We’re better because we can putt or drive a little white ball into a little hole in the ground. We’re better because we’re thrilled when the swing results in a hole-in-one. Or a homerun. It makes us better, just to get some ball past some obstacle(s) in order to deposit it into some receptacle (whether netted or not). Because, as you already know, we have nothing better to do. If we really, honestly, truly had something better to do, we wouldn’t be better. Would we? We wouldn’t be evolved. We’re so evolved and we’re so much better that we need “time off,” we must “take a breather,” we must blow a Sunday afternoon guzzling beer and watching millionaire brutes crash into one another. We’re #1 because we’ve written books that insist we’re #1. At least one book, in particular, does. I’m thinking of that one book that begins with the letter B. We’re #1 because we’ve got Raid and Off! The birds, they don’t have Krazy Glue. The cows don’t have Rush Limbaugh. Or Howard Stern. The cats and dogs, they can’t separate their colored shirts and socks from their white shirts and socks. They don’t even wear shirts and socks! We’re better because you’ll never see an ant instant message another ant. At least, not with cellular service or broadband. We’re better because we can name things. We can customize. We can file. Alphabetically. Numerically. Where would the world be without us? How could the world get along without Viacom? Without Disney? Snails don’t get Disney. Literally. How sad. And a world without Viacom is a world without… Viacom. And a world without Viacom, or Disney, would make my stock portfolio less diverse. 
10 April 2005

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