The Universe is Funny

May 032006
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

Once upon a time, time didn’t exist. This was because the universe hadn’t been invented yet, and hence calendars and personal organizers were a long way off. To avoid being late all the non-time, everyone kept track of where they were supposed to be by all being in the same place. With everyone jostling elbows like that, it was only natural for the whole thing to explode and create the universe.

For a long time, the universe was really boring and dirty. Sure, exploding stars and colliding planets would have been super fun to watch, but even if there had been people around, they would have exploded into frozen chunks. This continued for somewhere between six days and six billion years, depending on whom you ask and how angry they are.

Then people came along. They have two main theories about their own creation. The first involves their slimy ancestors dragging themselves out of the oceans and into the trees. From there they got hairy and learned to throw dung, and outsmart and hunt cows. They were the talk of the forest and the envy of squirrels, who were close to achieving evolutionary dominance through sharpened-acorn technology.

The second theory says that they were created from dirt. Again, a rather unflattering beginning, but it gets worse from there. The thing that created people gave them one simple rule, no eating out of the Fridge of Knowing, but the Munchies of Temptation overcame them. Rather than scrapping BetaEarth and starting afresh, the people were sent to suffer forever and ever. That’ll teach ’em.

What’s clear from both of these is that mankind has serious self-esteem issues. A happy race that got lots of hugs in its infancy might have made a myth about being created when Elemental Awesomeness collided with Pure Cool-tonium.

Instead, they compensated for their overall gloomy outlook by smacking each other around. The following mostly summarizes a few thousand years of wars between the ideologies.

Infidel 1: “Prepare to die for the glory of She-Who-Picked-Us-From-Her-Teeth!”

Infidel 2: “Her might is nothing to the Eater-of-High-Fiber-Foods!”

This was mostly how history went for several thousand years, except the real motives were more confusing. Art had its Renaissance, music had its Classical period, and history had more zany wars over tea and megalomania. Science had a few minor advances, such as the Internet, and the idea that it might not be good to drink water downriver from a morgue.

One of the interesting properties of humanity, in the scope of the universe, is that it always takes itself very seriously. One generation is hysterical because young ladies are showing ankles in public, then belly buttons on TV. The next generation demands blood and a total cultural revolution because of a quarter-second exposure to Janet Jackson’s mammaries.

Each generation looks on the past and says, “We are the ones who finally have it right. We are serious, aware, and progressive.”

But the greatest thing about life in the universe is, given 20 years, there’s something funny about everything.

Johnathan Kastner is, as of this May 13th, a CSU graduate. His column ran every Thursday in the Opinion section, then the Verve, then the Opinion section again. He once wrote an article in 30 minutes, and another in seven hours. He’s found and returned six stray dogs in two years. He would like to remind you all that, in his absence, the Collegian can be folded and makes a fine hat.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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