Rant 13 April 2004: Adapt or die

Pandas suck.

Oh sure, they’re cute and fuzzy and we’re supposed to care about them and save them, and biodiversity is rapidly being eliminated worldwide, and this is genuinely a global concern, and blah blah. But come on. Unlike other bears, who are clever enough to be opportunist omnivores, pandas pretty much only live on bamboo. Talk about high maintenance. It’s sort of like the kid who will only eat Cheerios. Eventually, reality sets in. The world is not made of Cheerios, nor do Cheerios provide 100% of human nutritional needs.

I’m not saying pandas deserve to be eliminated, but this is a clear lesson for all of us whose natural environment is rapidly changing. Evolution hasn’t kept pace with human development. Physiologically speaking, we are only a few degrees post-simian, and our DNA is still wondering what the hell happened to all those lovely caves we were sitting in just one geologic eyeblink ago.

Humans are rather like the cockroaches or goldfishes of their kind: indestructible and omnipresent. They can eat just about anything, have sex with just about anyone, and live just about anywhere on the globe where there is a patch of dry land to call home. They’re not perfect of course; they have this idiotic tendency to shit in their own nests and hit each other in the head with rocks. However, in general, the success of humans as a species is a lesson in the value of adaptation.

Until now.

The human body wasn’t designed for life in the 21st century. It was meant to move and forage, scavenge food through significant effort, store food in times of plenty and hoard it in times of famine. Sweet food usually meant good food in the form of fruit and ripe vegetables. The human jaw, with its powerful ability to exert immense pressure, could grind up nearly anything besides gravel to eat.

The human ass, its gluteus maximii the largest muscles in the body, was intended to enable bipedal locomotion and upright posture, not wearing a groove into the couch or computer chair. Bodyfat was intended for warmth, an indicator of fertility (at least in women), and to provide a steady supply of energy in times of scarcity. It was not intended to be cultivated into armies of artery-clogging globules.

What this means is that we have two choices. We can adapt to our new surroundings, accept the limitations of our Cro-Magnon physiology, and learn to thrive. We can find ways to work with, rather than against, our natural tendencies of requiring regular activity and a varied diet.

Or, we can keep eating pink cupcakes, pretending they’re berries picked from bushes on the savannah. We can blame “genetics” for everything including our La-Z-Boys, escalators, Twinkies, and car-dominant suburbia. Eventually, the WWF will slap an “endangered species” sticker on us.