Opening nuts can be a challenge. The nut cracker either bursts the tough ones into tiny inedible pieces, or not at all. We try our teeth, but chipped teeth are not a best case option. Inordinate amounts of time are spent trying to crack just one nut. But when we eat shell fish the tough unopened clam or muscle causes an uproar of “No no! Don’t open it!”. Some things are not meant to be opened, especially bad shellfish. At this point, I wish I were Paul Harvey (if you do not know who he was, look it up) and could make some strange, spurious, homespun connection to a deeper level of meaning. Global warming is causing more bad shell fish? The EPA is not using enough oversight to check our food for contaminants? People are too stupid to eat easier or less risky things? Nah.
Contemporary humans also rock climb with their bare hands and no ropes; hike altitudes that cause them bodily harm to the vascular system, try to make friends with large and dangerous wild animals, sit in the sun until their skin withers and changes color, use all manner of pesticides and poisons to make their food and hair look “good”, dance wildly to all sorts of sounds, try to control and punish other humans for everything from recreational weed smoking to looking at other naked humans in magazines and liking anything as banal as art they do not agree with, pluck/shave/and depilitate random body hair, and wear the strangest fibers in various shapes and colors on their bodies. Truly, an alien would observe us and think us unendingly funny and tragic I think, for all the expressions of our daily lives.
There is so little profundity associated with all our activities, to the point of willful ignorance. The consequences of our stupid random choices seem to be beyond us most of the time, and like the hamster on the wheel, we just keep jumping on without thought. No matter how many anthropologists and sociologists you can get to stand on the head of a pin and argue about the orderly meaningfulness of any human actions, it is all rather strange and meaningless I think. Just a way to stay part of the pack. Some call what we do “desire” (Oh those French theorists!), and claim it drives everything from core human instincts to complex capitalist machinations. It is THE reductive force against which everything else can be measured. That seems rather pat, and leaves out the just plain bored and stupid elements of life. Watch any group of college students on a Friday night and you’ll have a good sampling.
But as I have said before it is the curiosity of the human that has made us a very populous and mobile species. Desire may have had nothing to do with it, even environmental pressures can’t explain all of human migration and experimentation. Watch small children on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Curiosity drives a lot of action, and the challenge of opening a tough nut, digging a hole to China in your back yard you know will never reach there but you like to imagine it can, curiosity and imagination can alleviate a lot of boredom, even with the ensuing stupidity that can often occur.
Funny and tragic, 2017 looms very near. The uber wealthy have no interest in any aspect of continuing the species. They are hell bent on partying until they can’t ingest or compete or exert their power any more. To hell with the rest of us, we are an over populated planet anyway and all the island sized ships being built now for them (with the understanding that theoretically they can stay on an ocean for ever- with their own power sources, gardens, and water desalinization machines, etc.) will allow them to just hop off and get away from the impending strife that will occur. Or go to space. See, the rich can be curious and stupid too. 2017 is a year that most scientists agree is the tipping point for all sorts of climate abuse. At this point, no one seems too terribly concerned. Heads in sand, fingers in ears singing “lalala”, big-eyed porcelain figures with heads upturned to heaven expecting the giant sky pixies to live up to religious fantasies of apocalypse, what ever image you want to call up, that all seems to be so much more engaging that actually trying to avert the destruction of the earth for most mammals. The few who try may be using cups to bail a ship mostly underwater. What the heck. Maybe it is more diverting that watching reality television for them. Someone had to be the first person to try the bad shellfish that taught the rest of us not to eat it. Right?