The Imperfect Killing Machine


It’s wonderful. The four of us are home from school and work, enjoying the calm that settles after a major holiday. There we were, snuggled together in the big bed, watching a nature documentary on our new big TV.

Suddenly, the serenity was shattered by a sort of oversized cat launching itself out of a tree and onto the back of a supremely furry wild boar. Its teeth and claws immediately went to work tearing hunks of meat off the screaming animal. And of course, my husband has to shatter the moment by saying, “So that’s what squealing like a pig sounds like.”

But that actually wasn’t the worst commentary on the program. No, it was from the headless voice-over narrator who said, “Although only slightly larger than the average house cat, the Siberian whatever-cat is the perfect killing machine.” Like we couldn’t tell that from the pig fur strewn across the landscape.

You know what you never hear? You never get a TV show where the narrator calls any kind of toothy animal a completely pointless waste-of-a-killing-machine. It’s always, “perfect” killing machine. Where are the TV shows about the predators that starved themselves into extinction back in the Triassic Period because they were completely incompetent killing machines?

I guess evolution really is a bitch that way. The predators that weren’t 98% tooth-and-claw died out years ago, just like the animals that had a really high center of gravity compared to their prey or the ones that were too pea-brained to find the nearest watering hole. Sadly, stupid seems to be an evolutionary trait that nature selects for. If my dog is any proof, there is no such thing as an animal that is too dumb to live.