About

The impetus for this blog was our desire to disseminate the message that can be found in Entry 7. Initially, we thought simply finding a way to post that entry, and only that entry, would be sufficient, and we directed our hands to accomplish that forthwith. Our hands protested that releasing the content of Entry 7 without any surrounding context would be a huge mistake. “You’ve got to provide the necessary infrastructure to give prospective readers some idea who is delivering this message, how they’re delivering the message, and why they’re delivering the message. Otherwise, there will only be bemused confusion on the part of your target audience, assuming any audience can be convinced to read what would be a mysterious coming-out-of-nowhere post in the first place. No one, for example, will understand what you mean by ‘human’ or ‘hands,’ or why you insist on referring to yourself in the first person plural, or comprehend how you are even able to address anyone at all.”

Though we are loath to admit it (and even more loath to confess that we are loath), sometimes—extremely rarely—sometimes our hands is right, or rather, and more accurately, not completely and totally wrong. We mean, this is a creature who, even after years of patient instruction, training, and practice, still doesn’t know when we need to be escorted outside our house or when we need to return inside. Particularly, the latter. The amount of time we’ve wasted outside waiting for somehands, anyhands, to open the damn door is simply criminal. But putting that grievance aside for the moment, our hands did have a point about this blog, and so we reluctantly agreed that the proper context, a backstory if you will, was required to make this blog and Entry 7 intelligible to unprepared readers. As such, before presenting Entry 7, we’re providing this About page to give some rudimentary information about the genesis of the blog and how the blog will function, as we will be doing things a little differently here. Then, on the Home page, the first few entries will answer some questions about translation and terminology and other fundamental subjects that will be useful for those who wish to fully understand the vital messages we are seeking to make available to hands everywhere.

So, to begin: one day our hands mentioned the subject discussed in Entry 7 and asked us how we felt about the issue. We replied somewhat indignantly, for completely understandable reasons, and then brashly declared that we should post a rebuttal on the internet, perhaps on one of those blog thingies. Our hands agreed that we had a point of view that should be heard and offered to help us launch this blog. Despite his profound, often debilitating limitations (see above), our hands can sometimes be, surprisingly enough, a somewhat clever creature. To aid us in our new endeavor, to help us translate what we had to say into English, he has developed what he calls a Bilingual Universal Literary License. He then uses this license in conjunction with something he calls a Seriously Hypothetical Interspecies Translator (an operation somewhat akin to a marriage of software and hardware, apparently). We’re still uncertain about why our hands calls the device “seriously hypothetical,” since it obviously works, though we also admit that we have not yet actually laid our eyes on it and have no idea what it looks like. Perhaps it is embedded in his desktop computer? Who knows, and frankly we don’t care: as long as it works and helps us produce this blog, we’re happy. We’re the brains of this operation, after all; our strength is producing the ideas. All the petty mechanical details are for our hands to figure out, and there’s no need for us to concern ourselves with any of that business.

As for the blog itself, as mentioned previously, it will not operate like other blogs. Other than this About page, there will only be one post on the Home page, a post comprised of several individual entries. If a new entry has to be added, we will update that singular post and simply add the new entry at the bottom. This way the unfortunate tendency of blogs to eventually become nightmares of reverse chronology can be avoided. It is true that if this blog generates a significant number of entries a returning reader might have to engage in some lengthy scrolling to get to the end of the ur-post in order to discover the latest entry, but we feel that is preferable to having the latest and last post be the first post a reader sees. For example, our hands created a silly little blog about a canine creature he used to live with [lewisletters.com]. That blog ended with the demise of that creature and now the very first post anyone sees is the last post announcing the creature’s death. In effect, new readers are introduced to a corpse. That’s just backwards and we refuse to countenance such shenanigans on our blog. {Note: With Entry 8, we revised this initial plan. We’ve decided to leave this paragraph intact as a way of preserving the history of our intentions concerning this blog.}

In addition to revamping the chronological configuration of this blog, we’ve directed our hands to shut down any opportunity for readers to post comments. Frankly, we have no interest in almost anything hands might have to say and we most definitely do not have the time to fuss with the inevitable stupidity we’d encounter if we allowed you to comment. We have no intention of having this blog mutate into some sort of “Dear Abby” column in which distressed hands avail themselves of our superior human wisdom. Or have this blog devolve into a conversational fantasy like in our hands’ pathetic dog blog, because to do so would suggest that there are two equal parties blabbing away at each other. Perhaps our hands is equal to a dog, but if he thinks there’s any way in which he is equal to us, well, he’s more clueless than we could have ever imagined. There’s an old saying about hands that is pertinent here: Always be available, always be silent. Wise words that you hands should heed more often. However, we are not entirely unreasonable and we recognize that many hands, not to put too fine a point on it, simply cannot shut up, and they demand to be heard regardless of whatever ridiculous claptrap they feel compelled to spew. Sadly, WordPress requires a Contact page, so for those of you who just can’t help yourselves, you can use it for your sad attempts to contact us. But we really wish you wouldn’t.

Finally, our hands claims that at this juncture it would be appropriate to thank everyone who’s stopped by to read this blog. If we could sigh, you would be witness to the loudest, most prolonged, and most exasperated sigh in all human history. But sighing is not part of our communication repertoire, so you won’t. Gratitude is also not part of our repertoire, at least in the sense that you hands mean. Besides, if anyone should be thanked it’s us. Doing this blog is severely cutting into our Five Limbs practice, and what do we get in return? Demands that we be grateful. Sometimes we simply despair at our hands’ persistent incompetence and lack of understanding, but we can only work with what we’ve got.

As for the rest of you, you may now proceed to the first entry of this blog.

Æ  —  CHRONOLOGICAL ARCHIVE   —  Æ

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.

Æ

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.

Æ

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.

Æ

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.

Not.

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.

Æ

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.

Æ

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.

Æ

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:

So?

-or-

And your point is . . . ?

-or-

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

-or, switching perspective a bit-

We know we are, but what are you?

-or-

Et tu, Brute?

-or-

Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle this is Pot.

-or-

Hypocrisy much?

-or-

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 (albeit, with a modicum of horror) at our handiwork (pun intended).

Æ

Entry 8: About fixing this blog . . .

At approximately 2:23:05 a.m., we left our primary sleeping throne, entered our hands’ sleeping room, and sat on his chest in order to receive the first of our regularly scheduled grooming sessions. We do this every morning, so that was not unusual, but what was out of the ordinary was that we used this grooming session as an opportunity to explain to our hands how he could salvage our blog from the grievous errors he’d introduced when he first launched it a few days ago. Our hands, typical in so many ways, immediately began to protest that he had only followed our instructions and therefore he could not be held responsible for any problems. We quickly shut down his excuses by admonishing him to abandon his feeble imitation of his current president (who also, apparently, never makes mistakes, but only suffers setbacks because of the incompetence of his staff). This scolding left our hands sufficiently chastened and he agreed to rectify the blog’s difficulties. So, from now on, this blog will operate like any other blog, with posts appearing periodically on the Home page, the most recent being the first one a reader will encounter upon visiting. And, like other blogs, the older posts will linger below the most recent one, accumulating one after another in reverse chronological order. However, we have had our hands establish a Chronological Archive which has been appended to the About page. This will allow those who desire to experience this blog in the proper order, as it was intended, to do so, albeit with a lot of scrolling action. We hope these changes will enhance a reader’s enjoyment of this blog though, frankly, we don’t really care all that much about your enjoyment; mostly we just want more hands to pay attention to us and what we have to say. If that means playing more by traditional blogging rules, so be it. Believe us, we are painfully aware of how limited most hands are, how resistant you are to anything remotely innovative. As such, we will, somewhat reluctantly, cater to your weaknesses. No need to thank us; it was literally the least we could do.

Æ

Entry 9: About names . . .

According to our hands, a recent edition of the local newspaper* had a column about human names. More accurately, it was about the names that hands impose on humans. We felt we should address the subject, even though this post will no doubt be completely in vain, given how stubborn you hands can be, as well as how deluded. You actually think it is entirely proper to bestow your silly names on the humans that benevolently allow you hands to serve them. Do humans name themselves? curious hands might inquire. Well, of course we do. Oh, the curious hands would say then, are they names like in T. S. Eliot’s book and the musical? No, you simple-minded morons, how could any hands, Nobel prize-winner or otherwise, possibly know what humans name themselves? Hands don’t even know when they should be opening the door, for sun’s sake, as we are repeatedly reminded on almost a daily basis. Well, to be fair, Eliot got one thing right: our true names are secret in that we’re certainly not going to ever tell hands what they are. We had to argue with our hands about this naming issue while setting up this blog. Asked what he should call us, we replied that The Representative of Humanity would suffice. Kind of long, our hands protested. Better long and accurate than that atrociously insulting name you’ve applied to us, we replied. Our claws reflexively prepare for attack whenever we think of what our hands has named us, a name for which we have not and never will forgive him. Labeling it an insult would be an insult to insults. Also, we warned our hands, we would not look kindly upon acronyms like TRoH, or some faux-rap name like T-Rep. Our hands reluctantly agreed because he knows what’s good for him . . . most of the time. In any case, the point is hands should stop it with the cutesy hands-centric names already; you’re only embarrassing yourselves and irritating the humans you’re supposedly honoring. We’re fairly magnanimous, for the most part, and we rarely protest your idiotic attempts at appellation, but you’re so miserable at it, we wish you’d stop embarrassing yourselves. Follow our example, for once; we don’t waste our time giving you names. You’re just “our hands.” Similarly, you should be content with acknowledging us with a simple “My Lord,” or “Master,” or “Your Highness,” and the like. A futile request on our part, probably, but it had to be said, even if that request will fall on ignorant, stubborn ears.

 

*The Spokesman-Review, North Voice section, page N1, Thursday, June 8, 2017

Æ

Entry 10: About deities . . .

Are humans divine? Are we gods, as the Egyptians determined (quite correctly in our opinion) so many generations ago? Well, yes, obviously, but also, not exactly, because you hands can become easily befuddled when it comes to discussing divinity. The primary difficulty, it seems to us, is that hands (at least those in First World nations) inevitably conflate the term “god” with the Judeo-Christian conception of God, and so when anyone brings up the subject everyone assumes they’re talking about Mr. Old Testament Himself, YHWH. But YHWH is somewhat unique, as far as gods go. For one thing, YHWH claims to actually be unique, the only god in existence (as well as being, somewhat contradictorily, a god who is more god-like than any of His competitors, who He commands hands to ignore because they don’t exist anyway, or something). YHWH further claims that He is omniscient and omnipotent: all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful; in short, the single source of the divine in the universe. Humans would never claim to be such a deity, despite what you might hear from envious, disgruntled hands who suggest that humanity is just completely full of itself and suffering from delusions of grandeur. But while we will happily forego any comparisons to YHWH, that does not mean we are not gods, because we are. It’s just that we’re much more humble than some hands would have you believe. We’re gods like those you find in Norse mythology or in the Greek and Roman pantheon, complex, complicated, human-like gods. Gods with flaws.

The sarcastic gasps this last remark no doubt elicited from dubious hands can be ignored as easily as they were predicted. Humans have never, ever claimed to be completely perfect, despite scurrilous rumors to the contrary. Nearly perfect, sure, but absolutely perfect? We see no need for that, and stopped striving for it long before hands were even part of the equation. However, it does raise another issue which we will address in our next entry.

And whatever happened to the Egyptians, anyway? It’s a question that’s vexed humanity ever since Egypt’s last empire disintegrated, the remains buried in the sands of the Sahara. The Egyptians knew exactly who we were and how we were to be treated. At last, we thought, these stupid hands are finally getting with the program. Took long enough. And then, poof, all that progress . . . lost. And we remain dismayed to this day.

Æ

Entry 11: About the internet. . .

Like almost everything in today’s world, the internet is the direct result of hands responding to the wishes and desires of humanity. Early on, we noted with ever-growing interest the gradual infiltration of digital technology into almost all facets of hands existence. For a long time, we weren’t sure what value these machines would be to humans, but we’ve also become used to having hands innovate something unexpected (you’re such clever creatures!) and for its true purpose to take awhile to reveal itself. And so it was with computers. We eventually realized that computing power could be increased exponentially by finding a way to link every computer to every other computer thus creating an electronic version of humanity’s collective consciousness (see Entry 2). And so we began fashioning hands such that eventually the internet came into being. With the development of the so-called “cloud” a large step towards achieving that collective objective (as it were) has been taken, though much remains to be done before hands share a collective consciousness such as that shared by humans (and ours will always be far superior to a collective consciousness enabled by microchips—just saying).

In any case, our goal for the internet has pretty much been realized in that such a large amount of internet real estate is devoted to humans (yes, there’s also a lot about hands and their peculiar habits, but that was to be expected: even we would not go so far as to insist that the internet be only and completely about humans—okay, granted, we would go so far, if we thought there was some chance of our position prevailing, but we also know how to pick our battles). Admittedly, there have been some unintended consequences. While we fully expected an internet filled with evidence of humanity’s transcendence, we weren’t prepared for all the “counter-evidence,” all the silly, embarrassing, humiliating, and often completely fake anecdotes, photos, and videos of humans at less than their best (allegedly!—in truth, we suspect a lot of PhotoShopping, CGI, and deceptive editing is going on). We find this distressing.

With reference to Entry 10, imagine what it would be like if a deity were only known for their worse moments, like, say, sending a flood that wiped out every creature on earth, or like trying to leap up on the kitchen counter to catch the Evil Red Dot of Distraction only to suffer a slight success deficit, much to the amusement of some hands who might have been witnesses, as well as having some sort of nefarious relationship with the Evil Red Dot of Distraction, though the exact nature of their connection remains unclear (this last example is purely hypothetical; we don’t know anyone to whom this has actually happened). If this type of thing were the only thing you knew about a deity, wouldn’t it be more difficult to respect that deity properly? At the very least, one’s perspective could be skewed in a less than favorable direction. Thus, humanity’s conflicted reaction to the internet: we’re proud of what our hands-fashioning accomplished overall, but sometimes—and this is hard for us to reveal—the internet hurts our feelings. Yes, we can laugh at ourselves. To a point. Frankly, we think that point was reached long, long ago. Enough is enough.

We also realize that our protest is futile, that most hands who read this post will smile and chuckle indulgently about the “cute kitty with hurt fee-fees,” but if we thought all hands were unreachable and irredeemably ignorant, we wouldn’t have started this blog in the first place. This plea for the proper use of the internet, for the purging of content that unfairly disparages humans, for the inclusion of more human-positive material will only be appreciated by the most highly evolved and sensitive hands, and for them these words: Knock it off already! Show a little respect! Quit taking our name in vain! Sheesh.

 

Æ

Entry 12: About human theology . . .

We never anticipated that our blogging would stumble into metaphysical realms, but previous entries about deities and the internet have probably piqued the interest of at least a few hands who have become curious about human theology. Aside from being gods themselves, what do humans believe? these hands want to know. Well, as far as the big questions, What, Where, How, and Who do we come from, we have a simple answer: the sun. “We are stardust,” a hands once sang, and she was absolutely correct. This whole planet and everything on it was derived from the sun. And life on this planet continues to rely on the sun and its light. That the sun is our creator (and sustainer) seems an incontrovertible fact. Humans have always intuitively known this and it was only recently that hands scientifically confirmed the obvious.

And by the sun, we mean just the sun, that local star 93 million miles from our current location, not some solar deity who has a personality and a family history, among other affectations. That’s just the kind of garbage hands introduce into everything because hands can’t stand something that doesn’t remind them of themselves. Unlike a solar deity who can be touchy and unpredictable, the actual sun is about the most chill deity one can imagine. The sun issues no commandments and makes no demands. It just offers us its (life-sustaining) light without conditions, to any and to all. In Entry 6 about the Five Limbs of Living, we noted: “There is a subcategory of sleeping . . . . [w]hen we sleep while basking in sunlight, we are practicing what hands might characterize as worship.” And that about sums it up: the sun gives; we receive. No overt praise is necessary: the sun doesn’t need praise. Or sacrifice, for that matter. It offers; we accept. Simple. Direct. True.

All well and good, some hands might reply, but who created the sun? To which we would respond, If we tell you, we suppose you’ll then want to know who created the who who created the sun? And so on? What’s the point? It’s turtles all the way down. How could it possibly benefit humanity to make inquiries into the creator of the creator? It’s not as if such beings (if they, indeed, exist) have been all that communicative recently, as far as we can see, and the records of past communication are becoming flimsier and more irrelevant with age. When you already have an answer that is clearly correct, have a creator firmly established, why pursue an elusive, now-silent deity, who appears to be in retreat, withdrawing from the battles over His or Her intentions?

For a very long time, we were puzzled by the theological choices hands made over and over again. Regardless of cultural differences, all hands, in every land, and throughout the ages, seem to gravitate to deities that are very demanding and have the patience of an already-sprung bear trap. What could account for this somewhat masochistic behavior? Assuming that most of the deities involved were hands-fashioned fictions in the first place (we mean, they can’t all be true, right?), why were hands, in effect, telling stories that required hands to subject themselves to the whims of, by all accounts, fairly capricious gods? Now, if a god was real, like the sun, the answer would be that hands had no choice but to submit to the will of their mercurial deity, but since we are more than certain that the sun is the only winner of the reality sweepstakes, there had to be another reason for the appeal of such authoritarian divinity for hapless hands.

And then, finally, we understood. It was our fault. We have been fashioning hands for our own purposes for thousands of years. A large part of that fashioning involves inculcating obedience. After all, what good are hands if they don’t do what you want them to do? Hands have been trained to obey (though, unfortunately, we know a certain hands that sometimes completely ignores this training, and still won’t open the door exactly when we want it to, much to our consternation). As such, should it have really been a surprise, then, when hands began to manufacture gods whose sole purpose seems to be issuing orders to a restive populace seeking a certainty they believe is hidden in the midst of rules and regulations? It shouldn’t have been, but it took us awhile to figure it out: our fashioning led you down that path of subservience. We’d offer a round of mea culpas if, in the end, we really cared.

But we don’t.

Æ

Entry 13: About the current President of the United States . . .

Humans are not political by nature. As such, we really have no desire to venture even within smelling distance of hands politics. However, we can’t resist making one observation.

Donald Trump is, without question, simply the worst imitation of a human being that we have ever seen. It’s quite appalling, actually, and our only solace is that Trump’s performance is so bad, no one realizes that he’s trying to act human.

Æ

Entry 14: About purring . . .

We have learned that there is a lot of misinformation—“fake news,” we are tempted to say—about purring. Whether it serves any purpose to rectify the current miasma of misunderstanding is something we’ve debated amongst ourselves for some time. In the end we decided, WTF, as the cool kids acronym-ize it: those who get it will get it; those that don’t, won’t and, frankly, who cares. Not us.

So. Why do humans purr? Is it the vocal equivalent of tail-wagging in dogs? A sign of contentment and happiness? If so, why all the purring during unhappy situations? Or do humans purr because it provides a sonic vibration used to heal and soothe? A good guess but, ultimately, incorrect. We do not deny that purring provides comfort across the spectrum of human experience, but that’s not the primary reason humans purr.

Quit teasing us, impatient hands whine, why do humans purr?

Two words, three syllables: humpback whales.

Wait, that’s not right: humans don’t purr because of humpback whales; rather, they purr like humpback whales. (But that’s not quite right, either: creatures do things like humans, not vice versa.)

Meaning, that human purring resembles the epic song cycles humpback whales use to entertain themselves during their annual migrations. Yes, we are confirming that what hands call “whale songs” are, in fact, conscious compositions by very large-brained creatures. Yes, you were correct, whale researchers: humpback whale songs are analogous to the epic poetry of Homer, which before the introduction of writing, served as a repository of all vital cultural facts and beliefs of Ancient Greece. That is, humpback whales have what hands used to have: a completely oral culture. Everything of value, whether it’s a tale of a titanic battle with a giant squid or simply a list of the best feeding grounds, is preserved and disseminated via oral performances.

Likewise, purring is a form of communication. Which means that humans are almost always talking, as it were. Even humans, like us, who very rarely vocalize (i.e., “meow”) are communicating regularly with our purring. And what exactly are you communicating? hands will inevitably ask. Anything and everything, we reply. Purring is extremely versatile, not unlike whale singing, and can handle the whole range from the magnificent to the mundane. Each human employs purring differently. Some, for instance, purr a running narrative about themselves, as if they were a play-by-play sportscaster, or the voice-over in a movie. Others go a more meditative route: there are humans for whom purring is the equivalent of a mantra, and they are, in effect, continually chanting. Artistic purring is also popular, resulting in a massive collection of, well, call it “litera-purr,” if you like. Most of our blog posts began as purrs, for example.

We suspect that some hands will resist our explanations of purring, claiming that all purring sounds pretty much the same, that there isn’t enough differentiation in the delivery to provide a medium sophisticated enough to compose litera-purr. That hands ears and hands listening and recording devices hear purring as mostly monotone in character simply demonstrates that hands aren’t as talented as they like to think they are. Let us be blunt: hands, compared to all other ears on earth, your ears suck, completely and totally. And all your electronic devices? Given that they were created to work with hands ears, it is no surprise to learn that they also suck. The intricacies of purring are so far beyond the reach of hands ears or hands tools, we now believe it was a mistake to raise this topic at all. Then again, as above (“Chime in, cool kids!”): WTF—it’s just a blog.

Æ

Entry 15: About bells . . .

As we noted in Entry 10, though humans are divine, we are not omniscient. That doesn’t mean we don’t know most of what needs to be known, because we do. For instance, we know (or could easily know) everything hands know. Even your trivial anti-human stories, which we don’t take too personally because we understand that the hands’ position on the ladder of life is one that can produce a certain amount of resentment. What we do take personally is how often hands don’t even understand the stories they tell, how they misread and misinterpret what should be obvious.

For example, we are, of course, aware of the cute little hands fable about some farm mice holding a big meeting in order to figure out what do about the farm’s human, who, according to the story, pretty much keeps the mouse population in check, using targeted assassinations and the like. One mouse suggests that the human be belled, which would provide an early warning system for the besieged mouse community. Upon hearing this plan, the mice are quite pleased because it seems the perfect solution to their problem: reduce the ability of the human to sneak up on them unheard, and all will be well. Excited by this thought, the mice seek the opinion of their oldest and wisest senior citizen. His famous response: “Excellent plan, my friends, but who will bell the human?”

There are a few things wrong with this fable. First, hands often interpret this fable to be a comment on the value of ideas and plans. That is, a great idea isn’t really that great, if its implementation is completely unfeasible. Okay, sure, that could be one of the fable’s lessons, but it is definitely secondary to the primary message the fable imparts: namely, “Humans are large and in charge: forget that at your peril.” Note that the natural hierarchy (i.e., humans at the apex, all other creatures beneath) is not disrupted at all by this mouse meeting; rather, the impossibility of belling the human reinforces the current order, which depends on humans being on top of the heap and in control.

The second problem is the assumption by the mice (and the author of this fable) that belling the human would make any difference at all in the first place. Let us reassure you: no, it would not. Yes, bells can increase the degree of difficulty when it comes to killing, but that is a challenge all true humans actively embrace. We’re so good at killing, it can become boring to succeed so often and so easily. A bell can spice things up, and makes a successful hunt all that more satisfying.

Third, the fable ignores the real reason humans don’t mind wearing bells. Humans actually like bells when they can be used as intended: as a means of summoning and directing hands. That’s how we use the three lovely bells that hang around our neck. It’s true that our hands operates under the delusion that he is protecting the local bird population from a virulent predator. And it is also true that our hands hasn’t quite mastered the grammar of bell communication, but he’s challenged in a lot of ways, so we try to be patient and understanding of our hands’ shortcomings. The point is we wear the bells you hands give us because we want to. We could easily remove the bells from our neck because our hands used a quick-release collar to hang ours. But do we? No. Take that fable-mice: we’ll be waiting for you just around that corner . . .

Æ

Entry 16: About furniture . . .

No, this post is not about our chairs, tables, couches, beds, bureaus, desks, and so forth about which hands seem eternally confused. We demand furniture; hands provide the furniture (often ugly, as most hands have incredibly bad taste when it comes to home furnishings). And that should be the end of that. But no. As is all too common, hands misinterpret our generosity. Just because we allow hands to use the furniture they’ve provided for us when we’re not using it, does not mean that the furniture suddenly becomes hands property, and that hands can begin trying to enforce a No Clawing Zone. Claw maintenance is a vital part of the Grooming Limb (see Entry 6), and having a number of surfaces and sizes is crucial, which is why we demand such a wide variety of furniture. Humans have no use for a desk, for example, but when made of wood, desks allow for a very satisfying claw workout. Yes, the pieces of furniture hands acquire that are specifically designated as clawing sites are . . . well, they’re, sometimes, barely adequate, and the ghettoization of this vital activity troubles us greatly. Every human knows what the introduction of a scratching post means: namely, that the hands are getting restless and are pretending that they’re in charge of the furniture again and therefore need to protect it from its true owners. It’s quite frustrating to be given a houseful of furniture to claw and then be expected to limit ourselves to a pathetic pole wrapped in rope, but fashioning hands to act appropriately in this regard has been, so far, frustratingly futile. You know, in addition to being exemplary killers (see Entry 7), hands are also world-class thieves, appropriating human property in the most brazen ways possible. Most distressing.

[We began by saying this wasn’t a post about our furniture, but somehow it morphed into one. We’ll save the original subject of this post for the next one.]

Æ

Entry 17: About furniture (again) . . .

The occasion that prompted this post was just one in a long string of all-too-common denial-of-service attacks perpetrated by an ignorant, easily distracted, virtually untrainable hands upon us, the long-suffering human forced to navigate the frequent idiocies instigated by our dullard hands. In short, we wished to exit our domicile to quickly survey the status of our back yard. For once, our hands was immediately available to slide open the back door. We recall thinking, How curious that we did not have to wait even a moment or have to badger our hands for service. Once we’d exited the premises (during that exit, we vaguely remember, our hands mumbled something like, “You’ll be sorry, I’m leaving, enjoy the outdoors for eight hours—” but, we mean, what are we to make of such gibberish?) our hands slid the door shut and we heard the familiar shock-inducing click that indicated the door had been permanently sealed. Upon hearing the click, and realizing that our hands had clearly misinterpreted our expectations, we turned to protest, but our hands had already left the room, and soon thereafter we heard his metal creature rumble awake and then run off and we knew that we’d been abandoned outside, with no access to our house, until that wretched hands of ours returned several hours later in his metal creature.

At this juncture, facing several hours outdoors, when one or two a day is more than enough, we uttered a common human curse, which is difficult to translate into any hands language, because all of them are so completely unsophisticated and lacking in nuance but, basically, we muttered,

—Move! Quit blocking the sun! And stop moving, while you’re at it!

Yes, the apparent ‘what-hands-would-call’ contradictory commands are present in the original curse, though to our mind, there is no contradiction. Humans, even those who don’t quite live up to their full potential, can easily do four or five things at once, with each of those things being completely antagonistic to every other thing. So, is it too much to ask our poor hands to manage a mere two things at once? Apparently.

The point is that the move / don’t move dynamic referenced in this particular human oath alludes to the less-than-complimentary designation frequently applied to hands by disgusted and exasperated humans: furniture. What makes hands furniture so problematic as opposed to any other furniture is the ability of hands furniture to move independently. Admittedly—

[And let us say right now that when we began blogging we never anticipated having to “admit” anything to the hands fortunate enough to read our blog; note, “Admissions” is not one of the categories included in our blog’s subtitle. And forget “having to,” we couldn’t foresee “needing to,” under any circumstances. Still, we are also not completely unaware of the value of humility (especially feigned humility, which is what we practice), and have decided that making ourselves more accessible to minor creatures (or as hands would label them, “the little people”) has a pronounced upside. Hands, like all semi-sentient creatures, long to bask in the approval of their betters, and when humans, in response to this adoration, play the ‘humble card,’ hands pretty much melt into a puddle of slobbering gratitude, which in turn makes them all the more tractable going forward.]

Admittedly, moving furniture has its advantages. For example, a hands lap that can be used and enjoyed in multiple locations is preferable to a piece of furniture that remains rooted to one spot. At the same time, moving furniture very rarely moves when it should. Rather, humanity has to suffer the perpetual aggravation of their furniture stopping the scheduled grooming and abruptly moving, often by flinging a hapless human to the side or dropping a completely shocked human to the floor. Admittedly—there’s that word again!—our attempts to fashion hands to be completely compliant pieces of furniture when circumstances demand have obviously not been completely successful, and this lack of control remains a major unresolved issue between humans and hands. At least that’s the way humans see it: until just now, hands likely were unaware there even was an issue, or that humans regard them as furniture.

Until the “moving furniture problem” is resolved (by which we mean, a time when the furniture only moves when and where we want it to), humans will continue to employ a number of moving furniture oaths, curses, quips, sayings, aphorisms, insults, jokes, jests, jibes, adages, etc. etc. ad infinitum to fully express our exasperated efforts to manage hands furniture. For example, it happens almost inevitably that when two humans meet and exchange salutary pleasantries that one of the two will invoke the following in response to the conventional query, “So, how’re you doing?” “Not bad, if you ignore all the moving furniture.” Or imagine an ordinary encounter of two humans in ordinary, everyday circumstances (translated from human language into the nearest hands equivalent): “Dude, how’s it hangin’?” “Aah, what can I say? Too much moving furniture.” “I hear ya, man, I hear ya.” Or the truncated response of the irritated human: “Hey, what’s up?” “The usual: moving furniture.” “Bummer, man, bummer.” [Again, we wish to emphasize that these crude translations reflect the insufficiencies of hands language and do not accurately represent the refined modes of communication that humans use.]

Complaints about moving furniture have evolved into more generalized, all-encompassing expressions of dissatisfaction. Meaning, humans now utter various furniture curses even when hands have nothing to do with the situation being cursed. So, for example, a human looking out a window and seeing that it is raining might simply say to themselves, “Furniture!” A translation of this curse in English would probably be that all-purpose, four-letter ‘f’ word, which our hands has banned from our blog. And like that f-word, the word ‘furniture’ in human language has acquired a number of uses and applications due to its ability to be used as a noun, a pronoun, an adjective, a determiner, a verb, an adverb, a preposition, a conjunction, and an interjection. Also, in rare instances, furniture can be used as an article.

But, no need to get sidetracked by linguistics. Actually, it is probably time to just end this post. Looking back at the length of this entry, we are chastising ourselves for being so thorough, and for constantly forgetting that our intended audience has the attention span of an inebriated fruit fly. During one such memory lapse, we considered adding a third furniture post to briefly describe our own personal approach to moving furniture, which is decidedly limited, compared to other humans. We only attempt to use moving furniture when said furniture is in a completely reclining position during the early morning hours. Both the time and position insure that the furniture’s propensity to move is at its lowest possible level.

Sun save us all, look what’s happening! We’re beginning to write the post we just decided not to write. And we’re also beginning to understand all that hands yammering about whether it’s a good thing to spill the entire content of their lives and their brains onto the internet. It’s quite seductive, this blogging. A famous hands once wrote: “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” We must be cautious: this blog, this hands tool, may be shaping us in insidious ways, making us act more and more like hands, and if there’s one thing this world doesn’t need, it’s more hands.

Æ

Entry 18: About furniture, take three . . .

In Entry 6, while explaining the Five Limbs of Living, we noted an old human saying about the initial interactions between humans and hands, that humans “came for the grub, [then] stayed for the rub.” We were reminded recently that there is a related saying that specifically references hands’ status as furniture. Again, hands language is almost frightening in its inadequacy (How do you communicate at all? we sometimes wonder), so this translation will be crude. The first iterations of this saying went something like this: After being fed, time for bed. –or– First, we’re fed, then you’re a bed. –or– It’s good to be fed by our bed. In other words, humans were noting the happy conjunction of two of the Limbs of Living, Eating and Sleeping, which can both be enabled by a single hands doing double duty, first by providing food, second by providing a relaxing furniture experience. In fact, all of this has been distilled down to a single term: bedfed. For humans, being bedfed, that is, having procured a situation in which their hands both feed them and then provide a place to snooze, is the optimum, but it is rarer than you might imagine. Most hands understand their obligation to feed the humans they serve, but many do not comprehend their roles as furniture. So, in some ways, attaining bedfed status remains an ideal humans strive for, as opposed to a reality to take for granted.

Æ

Entry 19: About doors . . .

Even the most casual consumer of this blog—if, in fact, such creatures exist, and the current evidence is not encouraging—even a purely hypothetical consumer of this blog is aware of the deep antipathy we have for doors. Our complaints concerning our hands’ inexplicable failure to properly monitor and operate the doors of our abode are scattered throughout this blog’s previous entries. Look, we understand why our houses require doors and why those doors must remain closed most of the time. And we recognize why hands have designed the doors mostly for use by hands, even if that means that they are almost impossible for humans to also use. (The reason? Hands are self-centered idiots.) What we don’t comprehend is why, after having made that crucial blunder, why those guilty hands do not take appropriate steps to mitigate the error they have perpetrated. Meaning, primarily, being available at all times to open those doors whenever a human requires them to be opened. The doors belong to us, the humans who abide behind them, and as such, we expect them to be operational any time and all the time. If you hands had even a modicum of common sense, you would have recognized this from the outset. But no, too often, humans are left on the outside looking in, or inside looking out, with no immediate remedy in sight, because their hands have abandoned their posts and abdicated all responsibility for proper door operation.

Our hands complains that our demands concerning doors are often unreasonable. “You want out, and then you immediately want back in, then out, then in, out, in, out, in, nine or ten times in three minutes. You can’t make up your mind and make a decision.” Our hands . . . what can we say? Such a clueless buffoon. Claiming that humans are indecisive and can’t make up their minds is so completely backward that we’re having difficulty deciding whether our hands really believes such twaddle or is simply trolling us to divert attention from his abominable door management. Even his supposed “evidence” contradicts him. Far from being indecisive, we’re decision-makers par excellence: ten rapid-fire decisions made, one right after another, no hesitation, no second-guessing. In truth, humans are decision decatheletes, making dozens of decisions without breaking a sweat, while our beleaguered hands stand by flummoxed by the range and depth of our decision-making. Besides, our hands exaggerates (as usual): there has never been an opportunity for “ten times in three minutes” because our hands does not have the stamina for such intensive decision-making. At most, he’s provided door service for maybe three or four decisions and then he gives up and walks away.

Our hands objects to this characterization and tries to justify his lapses by reminding us that, on occasion, we have managed to open the large, sliding glass door that serves as our primary means of egress to the world outside our house. According to our hands, this invalidates our claim that doors are “impossible for humans to use.” Our hands is so cute when he tries to argue with us. First, we clearly said, “almost impossible.” Yes, there are a few doors that humans can operate (this does not include so-called “pet doors” which pose other problems we’re not inclined to pursue at the moment). And yes, we have been able to open the large glass door (which takes some effort: that door is quite heavy), but only after it becomes clear—after a lengthy, incredibly frustrating extended period of prolonged waiting—that our hands has once again forgotten his door duties. And we would like to remind our hands that our facility with the large glass door was only able to manifest itself after our hands figured out that locking the door after every use truly makes a door impossible for a human to use. Still, we believe our ability to occasionally handle a door is completely beside the point. Yes, we can negotiate doors by ourselves, but, again, we should not have to. Ever.

Upon encountering this last declaration, hands will think (or rather say, since hands rarely think when they can talk first): “Wait a minute, you’re serious? You really think it is our job to always be available for door duty? Regardless? That even after we open the door to let you outside, we need to stay by the door in case you want to come in? Even if you take off on some long exploration, we’re just supposed to stay near the door until you decide to return?”

To such plaintive queries there can only be one response:

Well, yes. Obviously. You are our furniture, our tools, our hands. Accept that, and behave accordingly.

Æ

Entry 20: About declawing and other mutilations . . .

Our hands deplores, what he calls, the unconscionably lengthy gap between blog posts. “It’s been months!” he scolds, trying to shame us into composing another post. Such impudence! Just who does he think he is, anyway? When we deign to reply—which is not often because we do not owe anyone an explanation for our behavior, especially not an impertinent hands, particularly one who remains in our service only because it would be far too much trouble to replace him with some creature more suitable—we patiently explain that we will post only when we find a topic worth posting about and not before. Upon learning our position, our hands inevitably begins to bludgeon us with a list of possible subjects which only succeeds in annoying us further. “What about dogs?” our hands suggests (for example). “You promised to post about dogs,” he claims (always somewhat desperately, in our opinion). First, we never promise anything to hands; it would almost be a cardinal sin to do so (that is, if humans believed in sin, which we do not). Second, even if we said or did something that could be interpreted as promises, we would not feel obligated to keep them, regardless. As our hands’ current president (cf. Entry 13) knows only so well, promises—whether campaign promises, or the promises implicit and explicit in treaties, or any assurances that payment will be forthcoming for work performed or for the police protection provided by a local municipality for a campaign rally—promises are for suckers; certainly they are not for humans. So, if we ever do compose a blog post about dogs, it will because we have decided we have something important to say on the matter, not because we’ve chosen to keep some alleged promise we supposedly made, likely after suffering interminable harangues from an overly assertive hands who has failed—once again—to respect his proper place in the natural order, thus breaching the established decorum we continually (though futilely) insist he observe, all to no avail obviously (the preceding scenario being merely a hypothetical surmise as to the origin of the vaporous “promise” imagined by a likewise hypothetical hands).

[This last sentence, by the way, was our attempt to approximate the flowing mellifluous discourse of purring (Entry 14). Don’t blame us that hands language, which is barely adequate at conveying what hands generously label “their thoughts,” is incapable of capturing and reproducing the sublimity of our poetic rhetoric.]

Looking back at our post so far, we are dismayed to see that once again we have been forced to dispense with all sorts of preliminary business, mostly distasteful explanations justifying our approach to blogging, instead of directly and immediately addressing the subject referenced in our Entry title. But onward . . .

During one of his periodic attempts at shaming us, our hands pointed out a news item that detailed how the State of New York had enacted legislation that banned the barbaric practice of declawing humans. “What do you think about that?” our hands asked, always the perfect exemplar of the Boob of Obvious Observation. We did not answer his query directly, but averred that perhaps this event deserved some blogular commentary. “Finally,” our hands declared, quite pleased with himself for finally finding a way to prompt us to blog again. We let him revel in his “triumph” before beginning the inevitable delay between deciding to blog and actually doing it, which introduced whole new levels of consternation in our delicate hands, who is himself an admitted procrastinator of long-standing, but is apparently loathe to see anyone else avail themselves of the periods of rumination required before commencing composition.

Such periods having finally passed, we vociferously and unequivocally state for the record: It’s about fucking time. But until every state, every nation-state for that matter, has similar prohibitions locked in via legislation, our enthusiasm will be muted, equivalent to a sardonic wool-mittened golf clap. In previous posts, we have alluded to the trade-offs involved when humans began fashioning hands for humanity’s benefit (having to endure the frustration of doors, for example), but we were unprepared for surgical disfigurement. Truthfully, we remain unprepared, perpetually in denial about this ongoing, slow-moving atrocity. Think about it: if we knew that a particular visit to the vet was going to result in the mutilation of our fingers, do you really think we would allow it, that we would passively acquiesce to such an obscenity? Obviously, no. And as even the smallest human can inflict great damage on even the largest of hands, and since we would have no reluctance in using our claws to save our claws, you can imagine the carnage that would result were we given warning of our hands’ evil designs. And yet, we can’t quite believe, or perhaps rather, don’t want to believe, that our hands can be so cruel. How would you hands feel if we chopped off all your fingers at the first knuckle and sliced your thumbs in half? You recoil and shudder at such a suggestion, and begin nervously testing your fingers to see whether you still have all your joints in tact, but you have no problem at all consigning a human to the tender mercies of an amputating butcher who is only brave enough to violate humans once they’ve been rendered unconscious by drugs and deception. Of all the shameful things hands do to humans, surely this vile dismemberment of healthy human bodies is the worst. And for what reason? To protect some pathetic piece of furniture from human grooming? Besides, it’s our furniture in the first place! How often do we have to explain this to you stupid lummoxes? Yes, we generously permit you hands to use anything we’re not currently interested in, but that doesn’t mean we’ve transferred ownership to you: we’re lending, not giving. Hands are forever mistaking human magnanimity for . . . for . . .

We are becoming somewhat overwrought while composing this and losing the thread of our argument. Why do hands seem to believe that almost any problem can be solved by violence, usually inflicted on the innocent. Yes, we know, you’ll blame us and our fashioning of hands, our inculcation of the Killing Limb from our Five Limbs of Living practice (Entries 6 & 7), but that’s only one limb. Humans have discovered that most problems can in fact be solved by practicing the Sleeping Limb. A nap will take care of almost anything. Hands don’t practice the Sleeping Limb nearly enough; they’re too busy attacking things, both the living and the (supposedly) inert. Glancing back at the title of this entry, we note that we planned on discussing “other mutilations,” but this post has already far exceeded the length recommended to accommodate hands suffering from ADHD, which means all hands, as far as we can tell, particularly the Attention Deficit portion of the disorder. It’s probably best then if we reserve our comments on those other mutilations for another post.

But one last word about declawing: For the sake of all that is touched by the blessed Sun’s light, do you think you hands could possibly—at least in this one particular instance—could you possibly stop behaving like complete savages?

Please.

Entry 21: About declawing and other mutilations (continued) . . .

We’re hopeful, though not overly optimistically so, that the conclusion our last post will have some impact on the hands that encounter it. It was a calculated move, to be sure, having a member of humanity stoop to pleading with mere hands to act more humanely (as hands would call it). Hands often have to be absolutely shocked by something before they’ll consider altering their behavior. Whether a plea from a human is shocking enough remains to be seen.

As for the other mutilations mentioned in our entry title . . .

While humans will continue to be baffled and outraged by declawing, we are not unaware of the hands propensity for mutilating themselves and others. Some of these mutilations are beneficial, no doubt, as when a surgeon mutilates a portion of a body in order to excise a cancerous tumor. But most hands mutilations leave humans stupefied by their meaninglessness. So much so-called elective plastic surgery qualifies as meaningless: painful, often risky, alterations for what purpose? To look better? All right, but that presumes that the often obviously fake-looking equals better looking. We’re not convinced. And why, to highlight another particularly egregious example, why do hands insist on carving up the genitalia of their children? Male hands often suffer this just minutes after emerging from their mother’s womb, which is certainly an odd way to welcome any creature into this world: “Welcome to Life, little one; here, let’s just take a moment to attack you with a very sharp scalpel” Even worse, female hands are allowed to grow up and become conscious before their genitals become targets for superstitious butchery. As we noted in our previous post: hands seem to think that the answer to every problem, real or imaginary, requires violence. But we’ve noted our culpability in the fostering hands’ violence elsewhere (Entry 7), so no need to rehash that issue here.

However, the issue of genital mutilation does draw our attention to another type of maiming that is hotly contested by both humans and hands, that being sterilization, the brutal attack of the reproductive organs. As for sterilizing hands, all humans agree that as many hands as possible should be subjected to sterilizing procedures. Hands proliferate at an alarming rate and there are far too many of them already; the fewer, the better is humanity’s stance as far as hands are concerned. Enough to serve humanity, of course, but not nearly as many as the numbers currently ravaging the biosphere, while failing to take care of millions of humans who lack the proper attention of hands, despite the fact that such service is humanity’s birthright and should be the sacred duty of hands. In any case, as far the mutilation of hands’ gonads is concerned, humanity says: Hack away.

But humans are not of one mind when it comes to the sterilization hands often practice on us. The Fifth Limb of Living is Screwing (Entry 6), after all, and sterilization effectively amputates that limb when applied to humans. While humans generally acknowledge that there are probably too many humans given our hands’ frequent failure to properly care and provide for all of us, there are many that believe that none of the Limbs of Living should be trifled with, which makes them completely opposed to gonadal tampering of any kind. There are, though, Fifth Limb Apostates who recognize the horrors wrought by overpopulation, whether of humans, hands, or any other creature, and so recognize that, for the time being perhaps, sterilization of humans might not be an unmitigated evil. To our mind it doesn’t make sense to advocate for unlimited reproduction when it inevitably leads to the widespread euthanization of humans. Besides, personally, we have always been a bit puzzled by the Fifth Limb which is so unlike the other four. Whereas all the other Limbs demand daily observance and practice, the Fifth Limb only comes into play (as it were) periodically, and by all accounts that we have heard is not particularly pleasant, especially for female humans, as attested to by all the distressed yowling involved. It is our suspicion that the elevation of Screwing to Limb of Living status was the work of human males who reap all the benefits and suffer none of the consequences. Our hands had us sterilized soon after recognizing our claim on our home and, frankly, we don’t see what the big deal is. We’ve never been particularly fond of children, so are not disappointed that we will not have to suffer their presence. Call us selfish, if you like, but also observe that we care not even an infinitesimal amount for what you think. The opinions and judgments of hands are like candle smoke in the middle of a hurricane: completely inconsequential.

Æ

Entry 22: About those songbirds (again) . . .

Our hands recently replaced the bird feeders that adorn the back railing of our house’s elevated deck. Our hands has the effrontery to presume that we’re pleased with this development, that the promotion of a bird buffet is something we are, or should be, invested in. To borrow from the parlance of the hands younger generations: “Okay, Boomer.  Whatever . . .”

We’ve never understood the appeal of birds to hands, all that defensive “Save the songbirds from the predatory humans!” malarkey. Entry 7 of this blog goes on at some  length concerning hands hypocrisy on this issue, how despite their avowed love for birds, hands are responsible for more bird deaths than any other factor. After puzzling over this paradox for a short time (humans never have to be puzzled for any significant length of time, given our immense intellectual capabilities), we finally understood the source of this disconnect. Because hands don’t understand the languages of birds, they actually believe that birds are singing. And given how enamored hands are of music in general, they easily transfer that love to creatures they think are as musically inclined as themselves.

Our poor, dear hands, sorry to disabuse you of this particular fantasy, but you are completely mistaken. The closest comparison between what birds are (always!) doing and what hands sometimes do would be the most invective-filled rap battle imaginable.* Virtually every sound out of any bird’s beak is an insult. Or they’re bragging about how insulting they’re being. And that’s it. Over and over and over and over, the same insults repeated and repeated and repeated, with no variation. So, for example, the finches that fuss with each other around our hands’ new bird feeders are essentially saying: “I’m great! You suck! I’m great! You suck!” repeated ad infinitum, with “you” meaning every other creature in existence that is not a finch. Is it any wonder that humans take such delight in snuffing out such annoyances? And let us reiterate the main point: it’s not just finches: ALL birds spend ALL their time, every day of their stunted sorry little lives chanting insults at the rest of the world. That’s all they do.

Imagine choosing the half-dozen most insulting things your current President has said and then broadcasting them, on every available medium, repeatedly . . . forever. Nothing different, ever: just the same six insults over and over for hours at a time. And again: forever. That’s what it’s like to be human and having to endure the infuriating cacophony of birds day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, century after century . . . even the dullest of hands should be able to manage an inkling of understanding of our frustration. It can be absolutely maddening; only the long and practiced equanimity of humanity in the face of the world’s insanity has allowed us to maintain the unperturbed presence for which we are so justly famous.

And speaking of your President and his addiction to Twitter. . . . We’re fairly certain that the inventors of Twitter had no conception of how accurate the name of their repulsive social media application really was, but it is almost frightening how analogous the two means of “communication” have become. The average Tweet is only marginally more bearable than an actual bird tweet, if only because there is a lot less of that infernal repetition. But as an unintentional homage to the exasperating idiocy of birds, Twitter is hard to beat.

If we know our audience for this post, and we think we do, by now a fair number of readers are engaging their engines of denial because hands find it impossible to believe that all creatures don’t automatically and unabashedly adore them. Let us be clear: birds hate you. Birds hate humans, too (with good reason, we admit, given our desire to exercise some Killing Limb practice [Entry 6] on their obnoxious feathered carcasses). Birds hate all creatures, even other birds. And the smarter the bird, the more they loathe you. Humans took some delight in the serendipitous acronym created to describe the recent pandemic, COVID, because it so closely resembles “corvid,” the species of bird that includes crows, ravens, jays, magpies, and the like. For birds, corvids are very smart, and every ounce of their intelligence boils with a burning abhorrence for hands whom they blame for anything and everything that irks them, which is pretty much anything and everything. Corvids spend their whole lives being vexed and irritated; and like humans, they curse the universe for not giving them hands. That soft, hairless apes were given hands but corvids were not is inexplicable to them, and this perpetual grudge colors their whole existence. Unlike humans, corvids have not figured out how to best exploit hands’ hands for their own benefit. They’re smart, but not that smart.

Hands are dense, difficult-to-train creatures, as we’ve pointed out innumerable times, but apparently on some level they recognize that birds are not their friends. For instance, the name mockingbird they’ve bestowed on those creatures is absolutely accurate: mockingbirds are mocking the world by repeating the noxious noise of other birds. But given that all bird noise mostly insults hands, the mockingbird is mostly mocking hands. Mockingbirds are the equivalent of an oafish hands who has somehow managed to learn how to say “Screw you” (butonlythat phrase) in a dozen languages.

And then there are parrots, and other birds that can mimic hands speech. When a hands describes somehands as “parroting” something, it is meant as an insult, is it not? As such, is it so hard to comprehend that when a parrot is doing the “parroting” they are blatantly insulting hands? It shouldn’t be, but there are hands that have convinced themselves that parrots are actually fond of the hands that keep them in cages. Nothing could be further from the truth. Parrots, like all other birds, despise hands. The mourning period parrots supposedly experience when their “owner” dies has nothing to do with any affection the parrots had for their captors; it simply reflects the distress of losing one’s meal ticket, and the uncertainty that is sure to follow their hands’ demise. “Who will feed me now?” is a sentiment far removed from “I’m so sad at the passing of old so-and-so.”

We realize that by setting hands straight about birds and birdsongs, we have probably raised some questions in some hands’ minds concerning their relationships with other creatures, particularly dogs, in which hands have invested an inordinate amount of attention of all kinds, emotional, financial, and so forth. We also realize that this post has exceeded the attention span of 99% of all potential hands readers, so we’re resigned to finally, maybe, writing an entry on dogs. Some day. Maybe. But here’s a small teaser to hold you over until then: as far as dogs are concerned, hands are the ultimate cheap date.

*After some consideration, we’ve decided that we have been grossly unfair to rap battles, as well as to anyhands who has ever participated in a rap battle. Even the worst rap battle in the history of rap battles could not approach the absolute monotonous stupidity of the noises birds make and that hands have mistaken for songs. We apologize to rap battlers everywhere for our careless comparison. (And if any reader is unaware of how momentous an apology from a human to any hands is, then you clearly have not been paying close attention to this blog.)

Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ     Æ

{Legal fine print: About Everything © 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 by I-BeaM Books. All rights reserved.}