We're No. 1! We're No. 1!


Last updated 4/5/2023 at 3:59pm | View PDF

We humans think a lot of ourselves.

And rightly so.

After all, unlike other species, we can contemplate the past and look forward to the future. We humans can talk in actual sentences with distinct and nuanced words. All you other species, what have you got? Quack, quack. Oink, oink. Bah, bah. Tweet, tweet. Come on, you, you — animals!

And how about quantum physics? Any chimps or crows or dolphins thinking about that? Huh? Our greatest human minds can’t figure it out, of course, but at least we’re trying, right? We deserve credit for trying.

But let’s get specific. Let’s compare humans, side by side, to other species. Let’s start with ants. Well, the best thing you can say about ants is that they’re very good at being ants.

They’re industrious. And they can carry, what? Something like 50 times their weight? Like me carrying around my Honda Civic. Okay. Impressive. Got to admit. Let’s move on, though.

What about lions? The best thing you can say about lions is that they are very good at being lions. They can take down a dodging impala in one powerful leap. I could try that, but I’m sure the impala would find it hilarious. Darn impalas!

OK, OK, seems like I’m not making many points for humans. Let’s try again. Let’s try eagles. The best thing you can say about eagles is that they are very good at being eagles. They can soar thousands of feet. Oh-hum. We got airplanes, eagles. Airplanes! But, here’s a big one for eagles: they pushed humans out of contention for the symbol of our country. Our country! Which humans let that happen? Yeah. Letting an eagle get the best of a superior species. Can you imagine? I wonder if Aaron Burr had anything to do with that? You know, after he lost the presidency to Jefferson. He got mixed up in some pretty crazy plots. Yeah, Burr. I wouldn’t put it past him.

Oh, well. There are so many species to go through and we humans have such short attention spans (Oh, God, another one for ants). Let’s just get right to the clincher. Ready? Show me an animal from another species who could write this wonderful, clever essay?

There you go. I rest my case. And my keyboard. Once again, humans triumph. We are, indeed, masters of the planet (what’s left of it) and on our way to Mars. Mars! Where we’ll be superior to all those Martians, too. You just wait. Because the best thing you can say about Martians is that they’re very good at being Martians.

Oh, boy. Here we go again.

— Bill Barre of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].


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