UPDATE: Don’t forget to come out to the show in NYC Thursday. Sullivan Hall, show starts at 8:30 PM. Also playing: Shannon Corey and Tim Be Told.
I’ve been writing, but traveling and too busy to tape ‘em. Here’s a b-side from the Sugar single (I particularly like this song):
Falling asleep on the plane to California while istening to Richard Dawkins read his book The Ancestor’s Tale.
I was on the chapter dealing with our 195 millionth grandparent, the mudskipper. A fish that had the tenacity and sport to venture onto land, evolving into an air-breathing walker.
“I like the idea that we are descended from some creature which, even if it was different from a modern mudskipper in many other respects, was as adventurous and enterprising as a little dog: the nearest thing, perhaps, to a dog that the Devonian had to offer? A girlfriend of mine from long ago explained why she loved dogs: ‘Dogs are such good sports.’ I think the first fish to venture out onto the land must have been an archetypal good sport, whom it would be a pleasure to call ancestor.”
The vast valley of time that seperates us from this common ancestor is almost impossible to really grasp. Millions of years. A hundred years, a thousand, ten, a hundred thousand, a million, hundreds of millions. But it all happened and the process was never shut down fully, and millions and millions of little creatures survived and reproduced and died, and now we sit here, the product of the best survivors, the .000001% who made it, and found mates, and made babies.
So, I was listening to Dawkins talk about these ancient creatures, more ancient than we are equipped to grasp (we never evolved the capacity to grok such huge amounts of time, and never wanted to, until recently), and I was falling asleep, in that dream-hallucinating state between wake and sleep (the same state Carl Sagan shows is responsible for most “alien abductions” and demon-haunted madness), and I truly grokked, for a second, this vast amount of time. How truly amazing it is that such a creature existed, so very long ago, and gave rise to our lives. I was there on that shore, for a couple seconds, watching this creature struggle against all odds, and I really saw him, and grokked him. He was really there. He was struggling but happy to struggle and happy to be alive. He is my relative, and I still carry much of his genetic code.
Bizarre. It’s so cool to be alive sometimes.
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