The Curse of Our Thumbs
A giant evolutionary step in humans becoming the dominant species on the earth really has to be the opposable thumb (I say that with a wink and a nod to those who think there was no such thing as evolution). For the sake of this little ditty, let’s agree it was an evolutionary thing. I think we need to pare out some grand themes, it is a blog not a treatise on the evolution of man.
Save the comments. I know there are many things that could be the defining moment. For example, fire and the wheel are arguments that could be pointed my way. I love fire, it cooks my food and warms the cockles of my heart. The wheel, what can a guy say? I love my car, so I assume we can all be thankful for those two big steps. I am certain that had Grog had no thumb, he makes no wheel (Boom! – Trump card). Our thumbs open doors, literally. Grog sports a flipper or a gnarled claw and we are a footnote in a journal written by alien archaeologists as they visit a planet with no intelligent life.
There are people, like Roger Waters, who is not a fan of our evolution.
“Then some damn fool invents the wheel – Listen to the whitewalls squeal – You spend all day looking for a parking spot – Nothing for the heart, nothing for the pot.” — Roger Waters (from the song Me or Him on RADIO K.A.O.S.).
I would guess that there is probably someone out there who hates fire. Ice man? Maybe Smokey the Bear? I don’t know it is hard to picture a real human who does not benefit from being warm. Dang, I am rambling again… but I was looking for a reason to quote Roger.
My point is this: Our supposed greatest physical asset has become one of our greatest enemies. Yes, we can still open doors, build fires, and make tires, all thanks to Mr. Thumb. That said, I also must scold our flexible digit because he has stunted us in our emotional growth and intellectual growth. I think it is fair to say the thumb has become self-aware.
Our thumb is why don’t we talk anymore. Seriously… We don’t have to! Our thumbs are in cahoots with the cell phone companies that have dumbed us down to WTF, LOL, LMFAO and MUSE (OK… I made that one up). A cool thing about talking is inflection. Other things that I thoroughly enjoy are sarcasm, compassion, pace, timbre, poetic license, and just good ol’ slang. The thumb is inflectionless, has no sense of humor, doesn’t give more than grunts and pokes. It’s in direct opposition with so many of life’s simple pleasures.
Please understand that I love my thumb. This is source of great conflict that only my mother, my therapist, and god understand. Had I been born a few decades ago we would have hitch hiked across America. I was raised on The Fonz who, if we are not too cool to admit, moved the thumb back into our collective conscience. Yes, the thumb told the lions to finish off gladiators and the thumb let us know if the movie was going to be good (or at least artsy). From that standpoint I am certain that the thumb has done me a solid. But now… oh lord… now the thumb has forsaken me. I will see you later becomes a vague reference to Saved By The Bell and now my friend thinks they will see Slater later. Spell check and typos have teamed up with blunt words to make me look like an ass. There I said it.
While our thumbs don’t totally suck, I believe they have ruined our front-brains. We can still fight, forage for food, rut, and cry like a baby when that fight gets us punched in the face but we cannot clearly elucidate a point regarding love. We cannot affirm our fellow man, we can barely arrange place to meet when we sell some crap on Craigslist.
But it’s not hopeless. It is not too late to reclaim our relationships, let our other fingers do some of the work, and even, dare I say, use our mouths. Let’s talk, grab some coffee and remind our thumbs of their place. To quote the Fonz, Aaayyyy.
SIDE NOTE: No real thumbs are quoted here to protect the innocent.
“hey just checking if we are going out tonight” — The Thumb
“why r u bailing on me” — some alleged friend’s thumb
“no I have to stop somewhere and wanted to check on your schedule” — first thumb
“Oh, I see I am just an event on the schedule DON’T BOTHER” — second overly-sensitive odd thumb