Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

You can learn a lot about our species by reading this book, but if you need proof that humans are idiots, look no further than the changing of the seasons. People wander about dumbstruck, as if this had never happened before! This week it got warm, because it is spring. And yet it seemed to blow people's minds. "Isn't it amazing," my daughter asked. "Did you see the buds on the trees?" I explained to her that the arrival of spring was not amazing to me, but rather a predictable and inevitable outcome of earth's travels around the sun, and that the buds appeared to be similar to last year's that arrived at more or less the same time. But she just laughed me off. My neighbor Margaret declared - I shit you not - that the sunny day was "literally a miracle." No, Margaret. A miracle would be if you got your Christmas lights down before February or learned how to appropriately use the word "literally." This is just nature.

My son came into my house beaming on Saturday, saying "Spring is here! Do you know what that means?" I began taking guesses. Extra yardwork? The return of mosquitoes? Time to file my taxes? People letting their dogs off leash? Excessive puddles? Migratory birds shitting on my lawn? Creeping charlie? The NHL playoffs? Skateboarders infesting public parks? Stupid people being amazed by natural phenomena? Shockingly, all my guesses were incorrect. "The Gardens are open!," he exclaimed. By this he means the local botanical gardens, in all their pre-blossoming splendor. Sigh.

Where the hell did you all get the idea that old people love botanical gardens? I believe this to be some kind of organized ageist conspiracy. Every time I am there, the whole place is full of geriatrics getting carted around by people who think they get double credit for spending time with grandpa and also doing something unbearably boring. If you think it is tiresome now, do you anticipate that at some point you are going to suddenly love going there? Hell no, Larry. You know how tedious it is. Why don't you drop the facade and just take me to the bar?


  1. Spring requires extra vigilance against pollen allergies. I love everything about spring, but it does have its drawbacks. Now that I live in a condo and don't have to worry about a yard, it's less annoying. I do love the flowers and warmer weather though, those brief moments before the onslaught of summer heat. Mother Nature hates me.

  2. My, my someone must have eaten a bitter pickle while reading! I do love botanical gardens or gardens of any kind, especially vegetable ones. If they have fruit trees and blueberries all the better. Fall is probably my favorite season, but I'm good for spring and most of summer. And honestly if the biggest idiots you run into are those blathering about spring, you are one lucky fellow. There are far worse idiots out there, let me assure you. You may as well go to the garden STORE and buy yourself a pot of johnny jump-ups (viola family and the flowers are edible) and at least one tomato plant. Well, since you like pickles, get two varieties of pickling cucumbers as well (you need two cucumber plants for them to pollinate properly). I recommend Celebrity for the tomato type. I can't help you with the pickle types as I have only made pickles once and I did not know your technique for keeping them crunchy. I hope to have better luck in my pickling future. P.S. I do like bread and butter pickles and I don't mind a sweet pickle now and then, but there really is nothing like homemade pickles, be they dill or bread and butter.

    1. I actually don't usually grow my own cucumbers because I don't have nearly enough space to meet my pickling needs. Luckily, we have a great pick your own farm near here so I can be choosy. I will ignore your comment about sweet pickles. :-)