Life with Pickle
December 4, 2006
“Did you know,” Cap said ponderously, “99 percent of all species that have ever lived on Earth are now fossils?”
Charlie nudged his hat off his forehead a few inches, then yanked it back down near his eyebrows. “That puts a man in his place, now don’t it?”
The two men stood, alternate legs propped up on the lower fencerail, watching a pen of steers nervously mill around. A truck would soon back up to the chute and haul them to market.
“The way humans are going, we’ll be fossils if we ain’t careful,” Cap continued.
Charlie shook his head. “Here it is: a few days after Thanksgiving, Cap, and you’re forkin’ the pessimism at me.”
“No, this is something to be grateful for.”
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“What? That we’re all headed for a fossil bed? I don’t notice too many preachers prayin’ for that one, and I don’t recall a single politician promisin’ such as that. In fact, I don’t know a single person who wants that.”
Cap sighed one of his premium sighs. “Don’t you see, Charlie, we’re the first species to figure it out that most species flunk out. We’ve figured out! That makes us smart in a way. We know we have to do something. We aren’t like a tree or a frog or steer.”
“Thanks for noticing.”
“You’re welcome. Now pay attention: We know we have to stop doing all the things that will cause us to go extinct.”
“Like what, for instance?”
“Like making so much pollution, fouling our own nest. Like fighting all the time. Like always being takers instead of givers. Like, well, like acting like we’re the only species that matters, or the only person that matters.”
Charlie looked Cap straight on, suddenly seeing something in the man he hadn’t noticed before. “I have to admit, Cap, you take the long way even when you know a shortcut. You go all the way around Robin Hood’s barn, but you’re a good man, and even though I’ve been slow to say it, I don’t mind workin’ with you.”
“There you go,” Cap said, putting a hand on Charlie’s shoulder, “we have to start making things better right here in the corral where we work . . .”
“Knee deep in bull butter.”
“No,” Cap said, kicking a pair of fresh patties under the fencerails, “we need more of this in the right places. I prefer to call it a bovine-enriched, rumen-blessed photosynthesis-enhancing probiotic extinction-fighting wonder mash.”
“I’m with you, 99 percent.”
To read more about Pickle’s life, go to the following Web site: http://www.lifewithpickle.com.