Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Of the Wisdom of Bats and Ostriches

Another dream so logically random that I awoke laughing...

I was working, again. I was a courtesy clerk at what seemed like a factory, but I think was meant to be a grocery. The intercom was constantly blaring that assistance was needed in this or that area, and I was apparently the only person expected to give assistance. “We need help in aisle 2,” a voice shouted over the intercom. I hurried toward “aisle 2", which was more or less a conveyor belt on which an assembly line of bakers was kneading, rolling, and shaping dough–and flour abounded, in dust, in piles, in clouds. “No, wait–I’m wrong,” the intercom announced. “Aisle 2 is the bakery aisle. We need help in aisle 9.” I changed course and headed for aisle 9, another conveyor belt, this time loaded with raw red meat–large pieces of what was either beef or horseflesh, and attended by an assembly line of butchers with white aprons stained pinkish in places, wielding large cleavers. None of them appeared to acknowledge my presence, and I was wondering with what they could possibly need my help, until the intercom voice came again. “Hold on, that’s not right either. We need help in aisle 12.” I sighed and turned in another direction. “Aisle 12" appeared to be a classroom, in which a dozen or so scholarly-looking young men and women occupied small desks, on which were thick, navy-blue hardcover textbooks. One of the female students looked up and raised her hand. Dark hair, fashionable glasses, freckles, an attractive, studious look. I felt suddenly uncomfortable, inferior. What was I doing here? She began speaking what may as well have been another language: “Have you ever noticed the intricacies of sea-snails? As is generally known, the spiral of the sea-snail’s shell begins at the interior and widens as it winds outward, its sepia stripes growing larger in proportion with the widening coil.” I nodded sagely, not understanding a word, hoping she wasn’t intending to ask me to add anything to her observations... “Apart from sea-snails, there are other analogies such as staircases, feathers, and starfish, that would lend meaning to our existence if we would only look for it. Our question for you, is however, pertaining to another species. We were wondering–which is wiser–the bat, or the ostrich?”

I was at a loss. This is the biology aisle, I thought. I have never studied biology. But I remembered that I had been warned that I was never to tell a customer that I didn’t know the answer. When I do not know, I must find someone who does. I was just about to tell them that I would ask someone for them, when it occurred to me that I had some general knowledge about bats and ostriches that, if carefully applied, might satisfy their curiosity. So I began:

“Well. Ostriches, as many know, are of the species of birds- that- cannot- fly. Wherefore they must use all the resources at their command in order to exist and survive. They must find sustenance and shelter, and must be able to avoid and protect themselves from predators. Combine this with the knowledge that they must also be able to protect their offspring, when it is yet defenseless and immovable within the egg, and it is quite apparent that the ostrich must be very wise.

“Bats, on the other hand, are blind. They are also, I have heard, deaf. Yet they operate upon a highly-developed form of...” I paused. “...radar detection?” It was a question. Nds was passing behind me, and I turned and asked, “Is that right?” He nodded and disappeared. I turned back to my audience. “Yes, radar detection. They move within the perils of the night, and manage to exist, survive, and reproduce–yet they are totally deaf and blind. Considering this, I put it to you that bats are infinitely wiser than ostriches.”

This is when I awoke, and laughed. “Which is wiser,” I repeated, “The bat–or the ostrich?” I laughed again, wondering how something so perfectly ridiculous could have seemed so sensible while I was asleep.


sleepyrn said...

Anything that induces you to wake up laughing cannot be a bad thing!

NDS said...

That really is a silly question! Everyone knows that bats are wiser than ostriches. Haven't you ever seen an ostrich stick its head in the sand?

Of course, one does have to question that conclusion when considering the origins of the popular insult "dumb bat."

Jesse said...

I don't think bats are deaf.

That is all.

HSD said...

I don't think so, either--but that's what I said.

antigraviton said...

I second sleepyrn's comment. :)

"Dumb bat" is a popular insult? Dang; I'm out of touch. I'll have to start using that one. hehe


HSD said...

Well...no, not that I've heard, at least..not anymore...I think it's more of an obscure insult.
(grin) But go ahead if you like.