Sunday, May 22, 2016

season 7: episode 1 but will they eat french fries?

I was half-listening to a radio program and I can’t get out of my head its presumption that intelligent life exists on this planet and we are it.


The program was about searching for intelligent life on other planets, “intelligent life” meaning any life that resembles us, or that reminds us of who we once were, or that portends who we might one day be. But I wonder. Should humans be the standard for intelligence? Is that what we are? Intelligent? How do we know? Do we have proof? Or is it that we need no proof?*

Josie would like to know: When do we get to the good part?

Remember when Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin searched for signs of intelligent life in the universe?

But seriously, when and by whom was it proved that beyond a reasonable doubt ye olde Homo sapiens is the one and only intelligent species creeping about this planet? Isn’t it simply assumed that we are? And every day we prove it by doing whatever it is that we do. And what, exactly, is that? I have been hearing this stuff about human intelligence all my life. How we are the intelligent, superior beings. Suddenly it all sounds so absurd. And then to ask: Are we alone? In this vast universe, our one planet itself teeming with creatures, are we alone in our intelligence?

I say, step back.

This little guy is growing on me. I call him Smirky.

I could start a list of stuff that would seem to offer proof against us being intelligent beings—anyone could. But why start? It might never stop. On the flip side, where is the list that offers proof that we are? Is that the one with the Sistine Chapel on it? E = mc2? “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”?**

If something we recognize as life is found on another planet, by what measure will we determine its intelligence? By how that life measures up to ours? Isn’t that rather … limiting? So I started wondering what if cockroaches were the most intelligent being on the planet and they undertook measuring human intelligence. How would we measure up?

Oi, then. My brain feels soggy and bloated. It wants to flop over, flop back, rest.

When is it coming?

Market Day #1, Season 7, approaches and passes.

On the drive in, the sun rose.

On the drive in, I listened to the CD of Yiddish lullabies and love songs. Wild klezmer played; sunshine flashed through the pines.

On the drive in, I listened to the radio and heard a song that I thought was The Marshall Tucker Band and it made me think how I hadn’t listened to Marshall Tucker in a long time and wouldn’t it be fun to crank up “This Ol’ Cowboy” and dance, but then it turned out the song I was listening to was by The Outlaws. Still, I wished I had my Marshall Tucker CD, was listening to “Can’t You See,” and then John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses” came on and that was fine, very good, I even sent up a little thanks, and ain’t that America ...
intelligence ... 1. a) the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability b) the ability to respond quickly and successfully to a new situation; use of the faculty of reason in solving problems, directing conduct, etc. effectively ... (from Webster’s New World Dictionary, the one that Elliott peed on)
Who knew it would last this long? This thing of making beeswax candles and selling them at the farmers market in Marquette, Michigan. My life, sometimes, yet surprises me. Imagine a perfect weather day. That was Farmers Market Season 7: Episode 1.

I had a customer from England—her accent gave her away—and I was only mildly disappointed that she was not from Cornwall.

Another guy came by and made some sweeping statement about how my candles reminded him of his old hometown, Wilmette, Illinois. I thought he must be joking because that is my hometown, too. Turns out we had a grade school, a junior high school, and a high school in common, with only a few years separating us. My candles reminded him of a candle factory that was once on the south end of town, near its border with Evanston. It sparked a vague memory—I could picture the street where I thought the candle factory might have been, could feel the atmosphere of that spot, that point where Green Bay Road dipped and curved slightly to merge into Ridge Avenue which at that point was rising up to merge with Green Bay Road. There was a cross street just prior to the merge, and that street ducked under some railroad tracks, crossing Ridge Avenue underneath those tracks just as Ridge was rising up. It was always exciting passing through that juncture because there was so much going on, roads coming and going and crossing and dipping, some obscured by those tracks, just a lot to look out for and choices to make, and no matter which way you were going or which road you were on, once you made it through you were in a new place. A new neighborhood. But that spot is in Evanston, just south of Wilmette.

On the way home from the farmers market, Josie and I stopped at The Drive-In. In the van we ate ice cream. We brought home French fries to eat on the porch, with Elliott. But Elliott didn’t want French fries, so Josie got his.

The good part.


* I refrain here from saying We don’t need no stinkin’ badges ...

** According to Wikipedia, this song was written in 1910.