Evolutionary Ingrates

I love furries. Really, I do. I like animal people, I like drawing animal people, and I cherish the fact that there’s a huge fandom who appreciates and supports that sort’ve thing. Most of ’em are great people, geeks after my own heart, and I love ’em dearly.

Every now and then, I also get an overwhelming urge to smack some of ’em upside the head screaming incoherent obscenities.

And the reason is because some of them are not grateful to be human and spend a disgusting amount of time whining about how it would be much cooler to be a *insert Charismatic Mammal, usually a fox, here*

A little harmless wish-fulfilment, that’s fine, that’s what the fandom’s all about. Sure, maybe a tail would be cool. Maybe fur would be nice, and I certainly can’t fault flicky, expressive ears. You wanna be able to lift six times your own bodyweight like a beetle? Hey, who doesn’t?

But after endless, endless, repeated threads on this sort of thing, wishing that ebbs and flows across VCL and Yerf with the clockwork regularity of the tides, after endless bashing of the human form as hairless, tailless, unexpressive and unnattractive, I’ve had enough. Soapbox time, goddamnit.

I don’t particularly care about the disaffected teen-whiner vote, who wants to be an animal because they can’t stand being a human and assumes that a life with a brain the size of a kumquat will be better, and anyway, the other foxes won’t make fun of his acne. Most teens seem to have better sense, and it’s a minority anyhow. But for god’s sake, people! Being human is FANTASTIC! We didn’t get the short end of the stick, we picked up the goddamn stick and beat a saber-tooth tiger to death with it! And I’m not just talking about the huge brain and language abilities, which even the I-wanna-be-a-fox people will grudgingly admit are okay, but in raw physical terms, we’re NEAT!

Look at our hands! If you do not, after mere moments of examining your hands, want to fall to your knees and praise either your diety of choice or your simian ancestors for the glory that is the opposable thumb, then I have a mission for you. Go tape your thumbs to the side of your hand. See how far you get. I guarantee, you’ll have a whole new appreciation of your humanity within five minutes. Less if you visit the bathroom.

Speaking of which, I don’t care how snazzy the fur of a tiger is, they’re still using their tongues for toilet paper. And they have mange. And fleas. And lice. Humans also have fleas–we’re one of the only primates that does, interestingly enough–and lice, but we can get rid of ’em and if you’ve got access to a computer to read this, the odds are that your last bout with head lice was one of those regrettable incidents in grade school. And I can’t remember the last time I had mange. And if I get an itch or a mat or something stuck to me, I can scratch it or remove it, no matter where it is, something that I’ve a whole new appreciation for, after watching my poor obese cat attempt to groom himself. He can groom one hind foot and part of his chest and sides, and that’s about it, the poor furry bastard. Plus our skin is magnificently tactile–I can feel anything, pretty much anywhere, and my sense of touch on my fingertips is one of the finest in the animal kingdom. (Which isn’t particularly enjoyable when I’m trimming mats off the cat, but nifty if I’m wearing velour or silk or leather or whatever, and anyway DOES allow me to trim the cat without accidently trimming what’s left of his genitals off, for example.)

Sure, we don’t smell as well as foxes. We also don’t smell as BAD as foxes, lacking musk glands and having access to deodorant. And no fox anywhere sees color in the same glorious array that a human does, or has such profoundly good eyes–the charismatic carnivores are excellent at detecting movement, but they’ve got nothing like the staggering eyesight that humans do, unless you start getting into the birds of prey, where you also get the brain-the-size-of-a-peanut problem. And the human sense of taste is exquisitely refined compared to the CC’s, particularly when it comes to things like sweetness–in the unlikely event that you manage to feed a dog enough chocolate to actually give him theobromide poisoning (and believe me, it takes rather a lot) he’ll derive much less sensation from his fatal meal than we would, the poor sod. Whatever tastes you enjoy, you enjoy because you’re human, unless you’ve got a hankering for carrion, in which case I freely admit that life as a hyena may be more to your taste.

Humans did not get the short end of the stick on senses. Sure, smell and hearing aren’t as acute as they could be, but they’re tolerably good, and taste and vision and touch are exquisitely refined. And our hands are simply spectacular. There’s no comparison to anything else in the animal kingdom, except maybe an elephant’s trunk, which, while lacking the fine control to make watches (and thus construct complicated watchmaker analogies about how exactly the hands go there in the first place) can lift an entire tree, which is pretty impressive, I’ll give you. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought “Damn, I’d like to pick that tree up with my nose.” I have no idea what I was saying, but I think I got sidetracked somewhere.

And walking upright! Good lord! How wonderful, to be able to carry things somewhere other than my mouth! How spectacular to see over things! How nice not to have to advertise to the entire cosmos that you’re in the mood for love because you have an anogenital swelling the color of a–well, of a baboon’s ass, not to put to fine a point upon it. (Realizing that male humans aren’t quite as lucky in this regard, all I can say is, sorry guys.)

Annnnnyway. I’m not even hitting all the high points, but my point is simply that we all oughta be damn grateful for how astonishingly cool the human body is. Sure, it’s got flaws. So does everything else on earth. And it’s okay to think that a tail would be neat, but the next time you’re fantasizing about it, take five minutes out and admire your thumbs. It’ll make the world a better place.

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