A pregnancy of prehistoric proportions?
Attention, you ladies out there in my vast audience of readers (my wife and my sister), there’s an adventure awaiting you. If one of you have nine months without any significant plans and a spare womb to rent, I have an historic gig for you. In fact, this experience will allow you to exceed the notoriety of Kim Kardashian’s bum. You’re guaranteed to be the host of a reality show with astronomical ratings and easily equal “The View’s” intellectual content.
Here’s the deal. Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School may soon take on the task of creating a cave baby. He has embryonic plans of using Neanderthal DNA to clone a baby that would bring to life a sweet little cuddly species who disappeared from the earth about 35,000 years ago. Now here’s where a woman comes in. What the good professor needs is a woman with a womb to nurture this little thing to at least the Honey Boo Boo stage.
I’ll bet whoever that lucky lady is will even make the cover of every magazine including Mechanics Illustrated. And no doubt there’ll be a trip to Oprahs’ couch.
Why the professor wants a cave baby is a bit puzzling. The Neanderthals weren’t all that cute when they were around the first time.
Look at the stone-pounding graduation picture of this guy. I’ll admit he sort of has a sweet smile although he’s no Gorgeous George of Vatican fame. And I’d bet his breath wouldn’t be mistaken for a rose. He might’ve been a fairly nice guy but unless you want someone to carry a spear, I don’t think he’d be much help. On second thought, if he was a neighbor and you needed some boulders crushed, he’d be out there smacking them around with pleasure.
On third thought, give this guy a decent shave, put a baseball cap on him, a pair of khaki shorts, and I don’t believe my golf partners would notice much of a difference. “Does Nin look a little different to you today?
“Yeah, he looks better than usual. It’s probably because he shaved his back hair.”
Historians and anthropologists mistakenly claim that these early ancestors of ours were around for thousands of years but left very little evidence of their presence. We pretty much have to guess what they did day after day. They probably hunted animals for food after the little lady threw them out of the cave in disgust. “Go take a shower and don’t come back empty handed. We need some fresh meat because I can only do so much with that leftover aardvark spleen.”
I can imagine our cave buddy was a pretty good hunter but as a gatherer he probably failed miserably. His wife no doubt chastised him for his collection. “UGGUTUGA” which meant in cave talk, “You idiot, you’re supposed to gather roots, fruit and berries. Look what you bring me. What am I going to do with stick, stones, and dinosaur droppings?”
Of course, scientists doubt that Neanderthals had such a sophisticated language. It was probably something like simple variations on UGGUTUGA. A typical day began when cave guy awakened, scratched himself, made some ugly body sounds which awakened and annoyed his wife, which prompted her to shout something akin to “GDHDDCKKKKKK” which meant in today’s terms the all to familiar, “All you men are pigs.”
We know from tooth-worn evidence that they ate vegetables. Wow, what an evolutionary step that was. Two hundred thousand years on the earth and someone finally munches on a veggie. Holy cow, slow down guys! This evolution is just too rapid. Of course, that veggie diet might have also led to their demise. If you had a diet of grass, leaves and burdock, who wouldn’t lose their will to live?
Imagine that cave guy just spent the day sharpening his spear. His little lady puts before him another serving of fresh twigs for dinner. He looks at it with deep disappointment, pokes it with his finger, looks around the cave for something else, even a maggot, sees only twigs for dinner again and he finally has had it. He lays his head on the cave floor and asks his son Junior to crush him with the family boulder.
Scientists say that 2 1/2 percent of our genetic makeup is from interbreeding between cave men and humans. They also claim that Neanderthals in southern Europe used feathers to adorn themselves. That might explain my parents admonition to keep an eye on Uncle Vito at the annual family picnic. He would always show up in a fabulous dress of feathers and end the bocce game by crushing the balls into a pile of bocce powder.
That’s enough background on smelly old guys. Back to the future. Let’s say the Harvard professor clones his cave baby and the world is captivated by the story.
Following an overwhelming early fascination with the birth, the years go by and Oprah invites cave baby’s mom to the couch for an update on his progress.
“Good afternoon, welcome to the show. We have with us today, Emily Stonehead who’s the mother of the cloned cave baby Grunk who is now a teenager. Can you believe that, a teenager already? She’s here to tell us what life with a young cave man is like. So let’s give Emily a big Oprah welcome.”
“So how are things going with young Grunk since we last talked four years ago.”
“Well, Oprah, you might not want to get me started. But since you asked, sit back for a sad story. First off, there’re a lot of challenges living with Grunk. I can talk til I’m blue in the face. If I’ve told him once I’ve told him a thousand times, Grunk, pick up the carcass remains when your done eating your road kill. But no, he just won’t listen. I’ve got bones, skins, skulls all over the floor of his room and if I don’t straighten things up, the mess just grows and grows.
“He dresses like a slob. I just bought him a whole new wardrobe from Old Air Force. I hang them up neatly in his closet and what was he wearing when I left this morning? His woodchuck loin cloth.
“As I said before, his room-cave is an absolute disaster. If it wasn’t bad enough, now he has the ceiling draped with deer entrails hanging like a string of Christmas lights.
“The other day I got him a skateboard like all the other boys his age. So, what does he do? He chops it up and uses it for firewood.
“Most moms have a problem with their kids spending hours playing video games. I’d love to have that complaint because he spends hour after hour playing with sticks, rocks and bugs which he ends up eating. I say, ‘Grunk, here have some potato chips.’ But no he’ll pack down beetles and spiders instead. A fat cockroach is his version of prime rib.
“Do you think he could have a pet dog like any other kid? Of course not. I think he’s eaten at least nine of them. No, on second thought, I think little Cody the border collie was number 10. And no doubt, I’m sad to say, he was smarter than Grunk.
“Well, that’s about it Oprah. Now, we await the arrival of Grunk’s new pet, a cloned brontosaurus. Can you imagine the size of the pooper scooper I’m going to need for that thing?”
Nin Privitera is a Fredonia resident whose column appears monthly. Send comments to email@example.com