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Philosopher Hitchhiker


Feeling refreshed,

I left and drove as the sun rose over the desert.


Cactus flowers blooming,

I spotted a fox dart under a thorn bush,

and a dead armadillo bleeding in the middle of the highway.


Another example of expanding human influence,

and I start to suspect our fate may be to destroy the natural world.


So I was feeling altruistic when I picked up the hitchhiker,

standing on the embankment,

gas can in hand and a standard story for me,

Iíd heard it before:


ďThanks kid,

see I ainít a bum, Iím an accountant,

and my wifeís pregnant,

so I was driviní her out to Elgin where her health card works,

when my car ran out of gas...

and thatís how I ended up out here halfway to BFE,

but it was very kind to pick me up,

very kind.Ē


ďThatís cool,ĒI said,

ďItís just human nature.Ē


And he replied,

ďFunny you should use that phrase,

Ďhuman natureí,

itís complicated, but most humans feel separated from nature,

see, Iím a forest ranger,

and every time I see beaver dams and bee hives,

I wonder where to draw the line between human and animal kind,

and I figure you canít,

ainít no sense in drawing lines,

itís all a continuity,

humans are part of nature and everything we do is too,

our clothing, culture, and factories spitting out designer chemicals and

scientists practicing genetic manipulation,

all this unfolds naturally in the environment that developed naturally around us-

every resource we use comes from the Earth,

I see no evidence of alien influence!

And I would know, Iím an astronaut!


And I replied,

ďThat all makes sense,

but I thought you said you were an forest ranger.Ē


ďNo! Iím an anthropologist!

Itís complicated,

like the nature versus nurture debate,

a single answer donít work for everybody.

The earth ainít one sided like that-

cause and effect doesnít occur on islands unaffected by their surrounding sea,

humans are multifaceted individuals,

we are who we are as a result of both genetics and upbringing-

we ainít earthquakes,

you canít always find a single fault,

and I would know, Iím a seismologist!Ē


And I was all,

ďHang on, how could we be earthquakes?

And what is it you do?Ē


ďDonít be stupid, that was a metaphor- itís complicated!

See Iím a molecular biologist,

and every time I think about the human race,

I canít help but wonder if weíre bad for the Earth,

like a virus,

while we fantasize about sendiní spaceship spores to other planets to colonize,

do we really have the right to spread this disease?

We only like ourselves out of self interest-

cause thatís what we are,

but I donít think humans are inherently good or evil,

shit, I donít even know what good and evil is anymore,

thatís why I decided to become a mass murderer.Ē


And then we drove in silence.

For a while,

and right when I was about to break fast and make a break for it-

he pointed to a car on the side of the road,

and inside was his pregnant wife!


But as he got out, he shook my hand and said,

ďThen again, some viruses are good for you,

thatís why I let you live. It really is complicated.Ē




(c) Copyright 2008, Daniel Strack

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