Sunday, January 01, 2017

The Immortal Australopithecus

I'm in the process of revamping my study/studio and sorting through piles of paper that have been sitting around for years.

At a time when so many people have been reflecting on the number of famous deaths this past year, and an ensuing sense of mortality, it was interesting to come across a short story I wrote several years ago about the notion of immortality, and whether it might not be all it's cracked up to be...

Happy New Year!

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Four million years ago, the devil offered him immortality, which he gladly took.

For a hundred thousand years he ruled his tribe. For five hundred thousand more he was responsible for many great empires.

He survived ice ages, the rise and fall of the oceans, the spreading of deserts and immense floods.

Eventually none of his species survived: he outlived them all.

Then he outlived other, younger species, although their evolved abilities began to make things more difficult.

Even the Neanderthals were beyond him. Unable to understand their more complex syntax and grammar, he struggled to keep up with their conversations.

All he had to fall back on was instincts and experience, neither of which could prevent him feeling a deep loneliness.

The final insult was the development of touch-screen phones, which were never designed for thumbs as large as his...

2 comments:

Hindsfeet said...

funny, Kim, I've thought of this.... how funny human beings are, that peddle "eternal life" as a blessing..... really? I mean, I know my, our, scope is limited, in the extreme, given only the five minutes of existence we "enjoy" between birth and death, against the backdrop of eternity.... but, I can't imagine something I would want less.... eternal, never-ending life? never ending? .......

.... it's odd.....

happy new year my friend....
Liz

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Kim Ayres said...

Liz - I think for me, I'm always amazed at the assumption we are the pinnacle of evolution and that somehow it will stop now. Assuming we don't wipe each other out, eventually humans as they are now will become as redundant as the Australopithicus. Anyone still around in 4 million years will be in a zoo.

Hope 2017 is good to you :)