September 2003 (v6 i1)
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Animals are all the wrong sizes
A plea for progress and a miniature polar bear to call my own
by Jake Wilburn, Managing Editor

It has recently come to my attention that science is extraordinarily fantastic. Our vast knowledge of the world we live in has given us the opportunity to manipulate it for the sake of our own convenience and entertainment. That in mind, I find it a bit irritating that in a world glamorized with space exploration, mobile pagers, and laser tag, we are still silently settling for dog-sized dogs, squirrel-sized squirrels, and despairingly sea horse-sized sea horses. Considering our technology, shouldnít we be thrilling ourselves with the production of beetle-sized dogs, rhino-sized squirrels, and wonderfully whale-sized sea horses? I donít mean to raise a big fuss over this, but I feel it represents a misplacement of priorities that must be addressed.

I must proceed on a very sad, very personal note. And by this, I certainly do not intend to make the reader uncomfortable, nor do I wish to wring any sympathy out of those who have so thoughtfully turned to this twelfth page and given me the opportunity to display how damn creative I think I am. But I must reveal my painful secret if I hope to get any sort of point across, so here goes: At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with an extremely debilitating disease commonly referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder. This disease has burdened me with such awful afflictions as the inability to keep score in a ping-pong game and constant access to low-grade speed. Iíve since been wondering why myself and others with this brand of hardship must suffer, and Iíve come to realize that, from birth, we are victims of an oppressive society that refuses to keep us captivated, even though they clearly have the means.

Ever since my sixth year of living, when I witnessed the class hamsterís babies morph from cute and hilarious little pieces of chewed bubble gum into two handfuls of boring, sleepy facsimiles of their mother, Iíve been very dissatisfied with the whole growth phenomenon. ĎWhy canít they stay the same funny size?í I asked myself. ĎAnd if they have to grow, why do they have to stop growing?í I asked again at age 8, after two years of intellectual maturation. From then on, Iíve slowly been losing my appreciation for the standard quadruped, as well as my sense of awe at the magnificence of our planet.

I feel confident in labeling it common knowledge that God and Jesus put animals on the earth so that we could eat them, play with them, or sometimes just observe them from safe distances (that is, if the animal is too big a jerk to allow us to eat or play with him. AhemÖtigers.) So far, we have been happy to utilize them in these ways. But anyone who has eaten toothpaste sandwiches every night for a week knows that humans need variety. And since evolution insists on being such a fucking slowpoke, itís time we took things into our own hands, therefore showing God whoís boss and finding a new cure for depression and earthly indifference with the knowledge that there exists a 6 story-high aardvark with a snout like an enormous waterslide.

Obviously, Iím not talking about small-scale changes here. We need genetically engineered animals whose fantastic freakishness can lift the spirits of an entire nation. I want to feel a giraffe nipping at my ankle. I want to house an adorable polar bear in a twenty-gallon aquarium and feed him freeze-dried penguinóor whatever it is they eat. I donít want to step on a cricket; I want to accidentally stumble over one. Dammit, I want a chipmunk with the stature and strength to push me on a swing. Is this too much to ask of a civilization with technology as advanced and thoroughly badical as ours?

I have expressed my feelings on this subject to my friends and they have wasted no time in telling me that Iím ďridiculousĒ and a ďdumb-ass.Ē I find this funny considering I am neither, but itís a good example of peopleís reluctance to consider a seemingly outrageous though nevertheless poignant suggestion.

This aversion to a progressive mentality is everywhere. Sure there are scientists working away at this or that trivial perplexity but itís getting us nowhere. And moreover, even our popular culture is delaying the prospect of a life worth living. Take a look at our obsession with vintage clothing. Those retro T-shirts were kind of cute at first but now I canít go a day without passing someone who is urging me to remember Whitesnake or Atari. Yes, Christ save me, I remember them and they were awful! No one seems to realize that all this time we waste pondering and reminiscing about worthless things could be spent envisioning and creating a new tomorrow. A crazy-sized animal tomorrow.
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