Friday, January 9, 2015

Okay, that's cold enough.

We've been slammed by that cold snap that's sucking the life out of the midwest and northeast---literally in some cases, as the other day the death toll was reported as 20. Which isn't a lot, considering the millions of people in these large regions, but if they could add in all the people whose cause of death will be listed as heart attacks and whatnot that would not have happened if it were not so freaking cold, it would be much higher, I'd guess. You just never know.

Yesterday the thermometer said it was nothing degrees when I got up, so with the wind it would have been less than nothing. That kind of cold is an insult, in the old meaning of an injury, and standing there waiting for the dog to decide he'd had enough fun sniffing and licking the crumb coat of snow off the lawn, I thought I would wind up with an injury. I had a heavy coat on, but that didn't help my legs or my face. I look funny enough as it is; how much worse would I look without a nose?

I know this kind of cold is nothing compared to what they get in more northern climes. I agree that we probably don't pay our Alaskan crab fishermen enough. But it's cold enough to kill around here now, and that's cold enough for me.

Looking at the dog enjoy himself, romping around like it's the bestest day of the brand new year, inspires a question for the evolutionary biologists out there: Why would we have ditched fur? This guy is just fine in the cold; the deer are not freezing like lawn statuary; most animals seem to be getting through all right. Those that aren't tend to be domestic animals not bred for outdoor living in the north. I don't see any advantage to being hairless as a naked mole rat. If we evolved from apelike creatures, why did we leave the hair behind? So we could wear Hermรจs?

You could say that our species ditched the hair before we left Africa. Okay, then why aren't all the African animals hairless? Many are, but not the ones we're kin to. We've got more in common with the gorillas than the rhinos and elephants; why aren't we hairy as gorillas? Whose bright idea was this? I'm freezing!

I'm sure the evolutionary biologists and their fanboys in the media have legitimate answers for this; these days they seem to think they can answer all kinds of questions, even those that are outside their ken. And I guarantee I'm not the first guy who ever looked at animals while freezing his nose off, wondering why they got to keep the fuzz and all I got was downy hair that's hardly worth the trouble and a coat from JCPenney.

I'm just wondering if we're the smart ones here after all. Is intelligence a better adaptation than hair? Or are it all just hair-brained? (Ha! Get it? Okay, never mind.)

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