Yes, Wheetabix is good for you, and Lucky Charms is so sweet it actually shrinks your lips before turning your phlegm into a sugary milkshake so thick it almost chokes you. But so what? If you were on a ship going down, and you had to grab one box of cereal to take with you on the lifeboat, what box would you grab?
Well, of course: you’d grab a box of Life cereal. But that’s because you’re a genius. Most of the other losers would glom onto a box of Lucky Charms. And why? Because people have a weird need to believe in leprechauns. Even though, as everyone knows, leprechauns swim like fish fly. But no one cares. In a time of crisis, you instinctively lurch for the knock-kneed midget in the pilgrim hat. It’s always been that way; it always will be.
Speaking of swimming lizards, this week my wife Cat and I saw a lizard exhibition at the San Diego Natural History of Confusing You About Life museum. We were watching this one green, thin, long lizard: the Brazilian snoot nose, or something. It had huge feet. Anyway, as it was ignorantly creeping its way around, the thing fell into the water on the bottom of its terrarium.
As it splurshed into the water, the first thing I thought, of course, was, “I want my money back. I didn’t pay to see a museum display drown.” But then, right before my amazed eyes, the lizard collapsed its back feet flat against its body, and started moving through the water with Flipper-life efficiency.
And that’s when I learned one of the most important lessons of my entire life: As a species, humans don’t stand a chance.
Who would you bet on: a creature who lives on land who, when dropped in water, thrashes about for maybe a half hour before going down like a sack of soaked potatoes—or a land-dwelling creature who, when dropped in water, instantly transforms into a fish?
We’re so screwed. Lizards were here for millions of years before we got all excited about our thumbs, and they’ll be here millions of years after we’ve asphyxiated ourselves off the planet.
Hey, Cat just called me upstairs. She’s awake from her nap! And, like a drowning leprechaun with gills, I’m hanging onto every last moment of our holiday together. Catch youse laters, alligators.