When I was young, my friend Jay and I were always getting to trouble. We both came from split-up homes where Corn Flakes were sometimes served for supper; and from the very second we met, walking home for lunch in 5th grade, we recognized a certain desire to lash out in each other and almost instantly became best friends.
Our escapism occassionally took the form of gruelling adventures; we almost died from dehydration once because we biked 65km in the middle of a scorching hot day with nothing but a medium cup of root beer to quench our thirst; it would not have been so bad, had a thunderstorm looming from the south not forced us to radically alter our planned route home. Once we outmaneuvered the storm, biking frenzily, we found ourselves in the middle of the sparse countryside, exhausted and thirsty, forty kilometres from home and not a single drop of liquid anywhere. To this day I hate being without a water bottle anywhere I go.
More frequently, though, for amusement we would bike down to Westgate, not far from our school, which was kind of the slummy part of the neighbourhood, where burly teenagers with mohawks would hang out, smoke pot and look tough. Usually we would scope out the situation, find the biggest huddle of teens, cycle by slowly and spit a massive loogie right into the face of the biggest, nastiest looking brute, while calling him all the insults our preteen brains contained. This was followed by biking away with as much haste as possible, lest they catch us and disembowel us with extreme satisfaction. I remember the thrill, the exhiliration, the cold chill of terror in the back of my throat as we fled for our lives, and it was intoxicating, almost primal. We, the up-and-comers, had challenged the established power structure, and got away with it; it was like guerilla spitting. We did it so many times that summer, and the next, that we couldn't even set foot in Westgate anymore without being chased back out.
Two years ago, I was sitting at home, sedate, watching a documentary about Rhesus Monkeys. It had been years since Jay and myself exchanged more than pleasantries, and my adventures of yesteryear were far in some cobwebbed corner of my frontal lobe. One scene, however, caught my attention; a pair of juvenile monkeys approached a group of big, adolescent ones, warily circling them, and then all at once, diving in and spitting all over them, and running away screeching. The David Attenborough-wannabe narrarator spoke:
Younger monkeys will approach older juveniles with caution, as they are not welcome within the group. However, they will often challenge the older males' dominance by spitting and screeching at them, and running away, regrouping for the next attack. In this way monkeys who have established dominance must always be wary of brave newcomers, ready to fend off attack at any time.
I nearly choked on my Froot Loops. Holy Shit, I thought, watching the little monkeys scurry away. I did the *exact* same thing when I was young.
It's moments like this when the whole Genesis-style human exceptionalism debate falls by the side in the face of such strong evidence. It didn't matter mine or Jay's motivations, what led us to that point, or that of the monkeys; the end result was exactly the same. Specifics change, but the general idea, whether you're a rhesus monkey, wombat, protozoa, or vonCube, remains identical.
I still think that is so fucking cool.