Entries 1 – 7

Entry 1: About the subtitle of this blog . . .

The first difficulty hands may encounter when first introduced to this blog is prepositional in nature; that is, readers might ask, “Shouldn’t that be ‘to Humanity’ instead of ‘of Humanity’ ? Aren’t you addressing us?” Yes, we are addressing you, but the we doing the addressing is a member of the human race and we are communicating with you, with creatures we call hands (see Entry 5). We are, in short, for the purposes of this blog appropriating the designation ‘human’ from you hands and using it to refer to ourselves. We know that many of you will be indignant about this and undoubtedly begin to pout about what you see as a demotion in status. “We’re the humans,” you’ll snivel, “you’re just a cat.” Which will only prove our point, providing further justification for our decision. To be most effective, a translation must be carefully crafted using those words from the target language that best convey the sense of the words in the original language. What does human mean? A number of things, obviously, but the meaning we’re most interested in is the one that suggests that humans are the apex species on the planet, the species in charge, the most accomplished species, and so forth and so on. “Man is the measure of all things,” one of your ancient philosophers once said, and that pretty much sums it up. To be human is to believe that you are the center of the universe, that everything revolves around you, and that all can be viewed through a lens that references you. When you hope to compliment a creature or its behavior, you label it human-like; if you wish to insult a creature or if you disapprove of a creature’s behavior, you say it’s an animal or behaving like an animal. Or that it’s inhuman.

In any case, as we are the true apex species, we shall, when using hands language, employ the name human when talking about ourselves. We will not refer to ourselves as ‘cats’ because to do so would be to accept both the positive and negative denotations and connotations attached to that word. When hands call us cats, often there is a disparaging tone attached, which we do not appreciate at all, and frankly find insulting. Even those hands who identify as ‘cat lovers’ frequently suggest that their love is a form of inexplicable madness and that they understand why other hands might accuse them of being a little crazy. As such, we do not recognize that any part of the word ‘cat’ can reasonably be applied to ourselves. We are not cats; we are humans.


Entry 2: About the subtitle of this blog . . . part 2

The explanation given above should also help illuminate why we are “The Representative” as opposed to merely “A Representative.” Truth be told, every single member of humanity believes they are the one true representative of our glorious species. We enjoy (and sometimes suffer from) a difficult-to-describe collective consciousness which means that each of us understands what all of us understands. Therefore whatever we decide to include in this blog is almost assuredly what any human might include in this blog. We are definitely representative of all humanity and deserve to be acknowledged with the definite article, “the.” That any other human could easily and justifiably claim the article “the” for themselves does not change the basic fact: we are the representative.


Entry 3: About our use of the first person plural . . .

We were attracted to the “royal we” for reasons that should be fairly obvious to those who have read the first two entries above. We exercise a form of sovereignty on this planet and over all other species and as such our exalted position demands exalted forms of address. Plus, the collective nature of our human existence makes plural pronouns seem more accurate, allowing us to refer to the individual and the group simultaneously. We recognize that there will be times when this usage might be a little confusing, that it might not always be clear whether the ‘we’ refers only to the author of this blog, or to humanity as a whole, but we think that for the most part the context of a particular entry will clear up any questions eventually, after patient and deliberate study by the puzzled reader.


Entry 4: About the title of this blog . . .

Knowing hands as well as we do, we’re fairly certain that some will question not only elements of the subtitle dealt with in earlier entries, but with the very title of the blog itself. “About Everything?” some obtuse hands will sneer, “What is this? a feline version of ‘All Things Considered?’ Or is it a Kittypedia? Or what?”

Stop, we plead, your snark is overpowering.


As detailed on the About page, this blog was originally going to be one post about one subject. When our hands finally convinced us this might not be the most effective approach, that a larger and longer blog was probably required, we became exasperated and declared, “Fine. If it can’t be a blog about one thing, it will be a blog about everything.” What a great idea! our hands exclaimed. That’s perfect: we’ll call the blog “About Everything.” To be sure, the title really should be “About Everything We Feel Is Important Enough to Spend a Few of Our Precious Minutes Blogging About for You Ungrateful and Ignorant Hands Who Never Seem to Have a Clue About When to Open the Freaking Door!” but that would make for a really messy URL, or so we’ve been told.


Entry 5: About the appellation ‘hands’ . . .

We do not spend a lot of time fussing about taxonomy. Basically, we divide the world in two: there’s us, humans, and then there’s all other living things, creatures. In this blog, when it becomes necessary to talk about creatures we will use the terms you are familiar with, e.g., dog, horse, chicken, salmon, etc. But you should understand that to us everything other than ourselves is simply a creature. It is true that we can, when we so desire, add subtle inflections to the word creature that can identify exactly what creature is being referred to, but such inflections would be undetectable to even the most sensitive of hands who—if they could understand anything at all—would still only hear the word ‘creature.’

There is one exception to this binary taxonomic practice: humans do have a distinct word for you, our hands. Hands are still creatures, of course, but you can take some pride in the fact that we recognize that you are somewhat unique creatures, creatures that warrant your own special name, a name you deserve even on those occasions, which happen far too often, when you ignore our need to get in or out of our house.

The single major difference between humans and hands is that hands have hands, thus your name. The one great mystery of life, as far as humans are concerned, is why the cosmos saw fit to bestow such useful items as hands upon you creatures instead of us. It just complicates things unnecessarily. When humanity requires something that only hands (the appendages and the creatures) can make or do, we have to go to a lot of trouble to fashion our hands (the creatures, not the appendages) properly until they figure out what needs to be done with their hands (the appendages). But we’ve learned to cope and, for the most part, the system works, if you ignore the persistent inefficiencies introduced by the occasional idiocies hands invariably introduce to the proceedings. Not that we’re complaining or anything. We’re used to it by now.

One of the definitions of human, by the way, is ‘tool user,’ though clearly it isn’t as accurate as it once might have seemed. We know that hands have become more and more nonplussed at discovering how many other creatures also use tools, which is muddying the definitional waters. Still, it isn’t that bad of a definition, given the extent of hands’ tool-using; no other creature uses so many tools so often. Except the rightful owner of the designation human, namely us. We humans are the greatest tool users of all because we consider hands to be the ultimate tools and so when we use you (which is all the time) we can also claim by extension all of your tool-using as ours. And yes, you’ll be sorry to learn, when we call hands tools we mean it to be both purely descriptive and clearly pejorative, as when you insult someone by saying, “He’s such a tool.” We’d apologize but like gratitude (see About page, last paragraph), the art of apology is not something with which we are all that familiar.

Finally, hands is one of those words that acts as both a singular and a plural noun, like your word ‘deer.’ Yes, it can sometimes be a little confusing, but, you know, deal with it: we’re not in the business of doing extensive hands-holding (ha ha) to help you through this blog.


Entry 6: About the Five Limbs of Living . . .

Humanity has pretty much figured out the secrets of life. We’ve distilled what we’ve learned into a philosophy we call the Five Limbs of Living. In short, we’ve discovered that a well-balanced, well-lived life requires paying attention to five basic activities, which we describe in terms of our four major limbs (two forelegs, two backlegs) plus our tails. Our priorities in order of importance (and specific limb disposition) are:

Sleeping (Right foreleg)

Eating (Left foreleg)

Grooming (Right backleg)

Killing (Left backleg)

Screwing (Tail)

{We were going to use an earthier Anglo-Saxon term for the Fifth Limb, but our hands expressed a desire to keep this blog “family friendly.” His suggestion that we use the word “Copulating,” however, struck us as ridiculous, far too antiseptic, too . . . formal. Thus, the compromise, though, frankly, we’re still not convinced.}

We have no desire to present a comprehensive examination of the theory and practice of the Five Limbs of Living, but a modicum of commentary might prove helpful for the uninitiated.

Sleeping : Self-explanatory, for the most part. There is a subcategory of sleeping, however that should be noted. When we sleep while basking in sunlight, we are practicing what hands might characterize as worship. A future entry may delve into this subject a little more deeply.

Eating : Also, mostly self-explanatory. There was a time before humans began fashioning hands in which the Eating Limb and the Killing Limb were much more integral to each other, when we could not always practice the former without first practicing the latter. Argument over this decoupling, whether it represents progress or regress, continues amongst humans. A future entry examining this issue may be required.

Grooming : This part of the practice includes not only the extensive washing we engage in every day, but also the reception of what hands call “petting.” We dislike that term because it suggests that we are pets, which we most certainly are not. We acknowledge, however, that having hands around to provide grooming is quite definitely a good thing. Hands’ hands are perfect grooming tools and are so much more versatile than even our own tongues and paws. Originally, when humans first began fashioning hands, our primary motivation was to make our Eating Limb practice much easier. But then we discovered your talent for grooming. A most revelatory discovery, to be sure. We have an old saying that can be crudely translated as: Came for the grub; stayed for the rub.

Killing : This practice also includes what hands call “play,” which is really just the necessary training we undertake regularly to prepare us for those times when we can actually hunt down some creature and kill it. Every string we bat, every small object we chase across the floor, every pounce we make—all are simply the means by which we hone the skills required to be successful killers.

Screwing : Unlike hands, humans are not perpetually in heat and therefore this practice is less fundamental, less frequently practiced, as it were, than the others. This also explains why it has been assigned the tail, the least substantial, most mercurial of the Five Limbs.

So, in brief, those are the Five Limbs of Living. The goal of Five Limb practice? To engage in all of these activities as often possible, and to do so as well as we possibly can.


Entry 7 : About those songbirds . . .

Our hands brought to our attention the frequent condemnation of humanity by hands who decry the human tendency to kill songbirds. Several billion a year by some of the more hysterical estimates. Humans have also been accused of causing the extinction of dozens of species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Vindictive hands slander us by claiming humans are an invasive species, and some suggest (completely bereft of any sense of irony, apparently) that the only way to save songbirds is to kill the offending humans before they can harm anymore innocent creatures.

Ours hands wondered whether we had any response to these charges of mass murder. We have several:



And your point is . . . ?


Actually, the body count seems a little low to us . . .

-or, switching perspective a bit-

We know we are, but what are you?


Et tu, Brute?


Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle this is Pot.


Hypocrisy much?


But we could play these games all day. Even those hands up in arms about songbird death admit (in sotto voice, or in a tiny-type footnote) that hands-caused habitat loss is the number one songbird killer. Nearly a billion birds a year kill themselves by flying into your windows. Pesticides wipe out 72 million more. Automobiles account for 60 million dead birds. As far as extinctions are concerned, hands have caused 500 or so since 1900. Just focusing on bird species eliminated by hands results in this (probably incomplete) list: the dodo, Great Auk, Carolina parakeet, Bush wren, New Zealand quail, Piopio, Chantham fernbird, Chatham bellbird, Haast’s eagle, laughing owl, Mederian owl, dusky seaside sparrow, Stephens Island wren, passenger pigeon. The death toll for only the last victim is estimated in the billions. Even those numbers, though, are dwarfed by the 50 billion chickens hands exterminate every year, 9 billion in the United States alone. Add to that 235 million turkeys snuffed in the United States. Add to that over one trillion eggs consumed world-wide, which means a lot of chicken embryos are never allowed to fulfill their destiny. 212 million male “layer” chicks are killed because they can’t lay those eggs. 36 million pheasants and 31 million ducks per year: shot. 25 million birds killed illegally in Europe (according to a headline in The Guardian).

And that’s only the birds. For example, in the U.S., hands killed 35.5 million cows and 116.5 million pigs. 2 million rabbits. 6 million deer. In the U.S. 9.5 billion pounds of fish were commercially caught. 200 million fish were kept by recreational fishermen (out of 351 million caught). In China, 10 million dogs are killed for food. And while 1.2 million dogs are run over by cars every year in the U.S., shockingly, 5.4 million humans meet the same fate. Plus, 2.7 million dogs and humans are “euthanized” in shelters every year.

This has been just a quick, almost random, collection of statistics, and because they come from your beloved, but oh-so-flawed, internet, there’s lots of room for argument and quibbling. However, whatever numbers you finally agree to accept, the fact remains that there’s a whole lotta killin’ goin’ on, and humans are not the primary culprit. No, that would be . . . (wait, let me find a mirror for you to consult).

Furthermore, while humans do kill on a regular basis, they only very rarely kill each other. You hands, though, seem to take great delight in annihilating your own kind. Here, let us regale you with some more figures conjured up by the omniscient Google.

A Wikipedia page our hands found for us (List of wars by death toll) presents in a simple chart all the death tolls from every war and conflict and conquest imaginable throughout hands history. A very quick totaling of just the Geometric Means figures (i.e., the average guessimate for each event) renders a grand total of nearly 500 million killed over the course of the past two thousand years or so, with about 20% of that total happening in the 20th century alone. And that’s just the average of the possible totals; add all of the maximum estimates together and you will be nearing a billion wartime fatalities. Factor in the trillions of dollars you hands have spent over the years and continue to spend on weapons and armies and the like, and it is clear that hands are very fond of killing. Whether it be other hands, or simply those unfortunate creatures hands wish to eat, killing seems to be the default position.

We won’t even bother compiling murder and suicide statistics; we believe we’ve made our point.

And the point is, please stop projecting on us your guilt and shame at killing so many creatures. We understand why you kill so much: we helped fashion you to be more like us. We’re killers; we know it; we take pride in the fact. It’s part of a well-lived life, after all (see Entry 6). And, you, you simple-minded hands, you are only doing what we’ve taught you to do, though, admittedly, you have perhaps taken to your lessons a little too enthusiastically (all this hands killing hands stuff definitely falls into the category of “unintended consequences”). So, continue slaughtering everything in sight, if you must, but please have enough self-respect to acknowledge what you’re doing instead of pointing your finger at us humans. It is difficult for us to admit, but truly, in the art of killing, the student has become the master. Hands have become the ultimate killers. Humans can only sit back and marvel at our handiwork (pun intended).