Somewhere between Pittsburgh and Columbus, K-Mac looked out the window and said “Is that a dead armadillo?”
My reply: “I don’t think they have armadillos in Pennsylvania.”
“Maybe it wasn’t an armadillo,” she said.
“Or,” I theorized, “maybe they only have the dead ones in Pennsylvania. That would explain why you never see a live one walking around in the Keystone state.”
“Actually, we’re in Ohio.”
“Still, not a state known to be jumping with armadillos.”
“I don’t think armadillos jump,” said K-Mac, “especially not post-mortem.”
“Maybe they just want you to think they’re post-mortem, when they’re actually pre-mortem, but faking mortimerism.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Who knows what an armadillo thinks?”
“I don’t think armadillos think,” said K-Mac who—and I say this will all due respect and as kindly as possible—has not the slightest background in armored reptilian studies.
“I read a story recently about a guy in Arizona who shot at an armadillo in his back yard,” I countered. “The bullet ricocheted off its armor and came back and gave the guy a free lobotomy.”
“Mrglph,” said K-Mac, her head drooping and beginning to loll on her shoulders as she over-feigned disinterest.
“So,” I said. “We now know that the dead armadillo we may have just passed did not die from a gunshot.”
“Maybe…it…was…talked…to…death,” she mumbled just before pretending to slip into a coma with an overly dramatic sucking sound.
I, however, remained alert, pondering the obvious philosophical point of our exchange.
You see, civilization is based on our collective acceptance of rules and laws. Without that acceptance, chaos would reign cats and dogs and our normal umbrellas would be useless. We would slowly revert to ignorant savages, we’d stop returning library books, we’d make fart noises with our armpits, we’d park in the handicap spots, we’d watch only one reality show a week.
Let’s say you’re driving along in the middle of nowhere at 3 a.m. and you come up to a red light and there’s no one else around. Would you stop? Or would you run the light? This is the essence of civilization.
Don’t think so? Ask yourself what would an armadillo do? I’ll tell you what an armadillo would do. He’d mosey on through that red light without the slightest inkling that he was surrendering to animal urges. He would never get anywhere but dead (or faking dead) along a highway in Ohio. Possibly Pennsylvania.
You know, as I’m saying this, it occurs to me that this is the very same truth that Socrates discovered that time he rode his pig over to Plato’s cave for a cave-in.
He stopped at a rest area along the way to rest his sizable area. Suddenly a cohort of naked Trojans overtook him. (In ancient times, before men’s clothing stores had reached Troy, Trojan men fought naked, taking their cue from their leader, Hector the Nudnik.)
Anyway, the Trojans rudely elbowed themselves ahead of Socrates and quickly packed the men’s room. So he went outside to find a tree. And it was while standing at that tree contemplating the epistemology of bark, that the Socster uttered one of his most famous lines:
“The only good is knowledge,” he said, “and the only evil is men without pants.”
Much later, Socrates would earn lasting fame for inventing cargo shorts, which went over very big in Troy after Hector the Nudnik died of a really bad sunburn. The invention of pocket-sized cargo, of course, wouldn’t happen for another thousand years.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2015, all rights reserved.