While watching Planet Earth II, I had way too much time to think — the cerebral version of small talk — and I came to many conclusions, most of them faulty and derived from excessive medicines taken to deal with this persistently painful kidney stone. Somehow from the plight of African Sahara tiger pack hunting a giraffe due to desperation, I managed to get to why tattoos have become the new version of small talk, and elitism among animals. Let me explain.
You can barely be in any conversation nowadays that doesn’t move from small talk to a full-on argument of some kind, be it about politics, sports, arts, carbonated beverages, baked goods, or knitting (the English vs Continental practices are much more violent than you’d think).
Since the explosion of the tattoo as yet another stupid means of self-expression (it’s called a t-shirt people!), we have had to endure way too many shows about tattoo artists and people who think they are somehow even more expressive of their inner-selves by having someone jab a filthy needle beneath their skin, repeatedly, that is filled with pigments and solvents – and pay a lot of money for it. (That used to be called a heroin addict.)
I’ve seen people compare tattoos, compare who suffered more while getting the tattoo, explaining ad nauseum how it represents something meaningful to them — yet keep it hidden beneath clothing. If you’re truly proud of your corporal decor then get a tattoo on your forehead. Or your cheeks. Show me you care to go the extra mile. That’ll generate some small talk in the office. Especially at job interviews and pick-up time at the children’s daycare.
Animal Small Talk
As the second half of the Planet Earth episode moved along, I realized that a lot of animals are dumb. Let’s take the African Ibex. They may well be the male fashion model of the animal world. Handsome but short on IQ. They get chased and killed by lions, face drought all the time, and can’t wear hats due to those giant horns.
If I were an African Ibex, which would NEVER happen because there is no chocolate or cinnamon danish in the desert, I would have probably said to myself after year one: “Ok, time to move to the city, get an apartment with air conditioning, be within walking distance of a cafe and a bakery, and get some kind of cushy office job. Something with computers, especially if I can figure out the hoof-on-keyboard issue.”
What do you think the discussion around the waterhole is every other day when the Ibex come to gather? Probably something like this:
Ibex 1 (Steve): “Hey, it’s pretty hot out there. Bet you could fry an egg out there.”
Ibex 2 (Juan): “Did you guys see Lenny get mauled by that lion yesterday? Brutal.”
Ibex 3 (Trent): “Man, it’d be great if there was more food and water like in the city. We could really use a Starbucks or even a McDonald’s out here. Hey Steve, how do my horns look today? Pretty sharp, I bet.”
Giraffes on the other hand, they are the elitists of the animal world. Ever see that extra long neck and those colorful tattoos? They get to eat off the top of the tree, ad don’t have to share their leafy wealth with the commoners (a.k.a. the lions), and they have colors those dirt grubbing lions don’t. They only engage in small talk way up high where no one but the other giraffes can hear them, looking down on the others. Sheer animal elitism, I tell you.
Where does all this digital small talk leave us? Are we any the wiser for knowing that Ibex are shallow and dumb? Are we richer knowing that tattoos should now be printed/scribed/subcutaneously jabbed on the face and worn proudly for all to see? Is anyone still reading this really long rant as the pain in my left side increases from a 3 to a 7.5 on the wince scale? I am most certainly not. I think I checked out mentally at least 15 minutes ago.
Boy, I really want some chocolate danish.
Lots of love,
Gilgamesh of the North Druker