Monday, July 11, 2005

Public Service Announcement

You know... for television.

On the left, an Olympic high-jumper prepares to sprint towards the bar.
On the right, a kitty-cat, eyeing the edge of the dinner table.

The high-jumper, from behind. A dotted white line skitters onto the screen so that we can see just how high the bar is compared to the athlete.

The kitty-cat. Again, a white line demonstrates the height of the table edge above the cat's head. Cat and man have the same distance to jump, relative their heights.

The athlete makes his run, muscles straining, eyes focused like a warrior's. His pounding steps. Arching dangerously over the bar.

The kitty-cat hops up on the table, jumping from a stationary position, showing no particular exertion. As the kitty examines the odds and ends on the table, the tagline appears:

You call yourself an athlete?

I'm convinced that human beings, by and large, do not understand that we are not a physically impressive species, and moreover, the world would be a better place if we did. Among other things, I think this explains why people think that a chimpanzee won't beat the living crap out of you if you wrestle with it, or that somehow you could defeat a mountain lion (they don't look so big... ) One could probably make a connection between our society's mania for athletic games--instead of, say, speed chess--and this bizarre misconception that successful athletes are physically extraordinary. Thy're not. Did you know that a female gorilla can rip your arm off your body? Can Shaq? No. I'd like to make a connection between this and our species' love of violence, but that's harder. In America in particular, we put a ridiculous emphasis on athletic prowess in schools, at the expense of education. Maybe if people understood that being fast and strong is not what we're good at, we could move on. Maybe it would be harder to read so much crazytalk into being the the stonger and faster half of feeble species.


[Update: If you're reading this, please, comment. I'd like to know what you think.]