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The smarter animal

By Jon Ward
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 17, 1998
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Jon Ward

So the other day I'm driving to my neighborhood market and I end up behind this rusted Ford pickup with oversize tires and a row of lights across the cab roof. It looks like something you'd see mounted on big gray bricks in front of some run-down shack surrounded by 14 other beat-up cars missing wheels and doors.

Needless to say, the bumper is littered with worn and faded stickers, some illegible. One says, "Meat is dinner." Another reads, "Fur is Warm."

And I'm thinking, thanks for acquainting me with your culinary preferences, you tobacco-chewing, cheap-beer-swilling, gun-toting piece of toothless trailer trash.

Scrutinizing another sticker, I find that it reads, "I swerve for small animals." I assume this means not to avoid them but to splatter them all over the road.

I shake my head in disgust, unable to understand how any person could be so base, insecure and stupid as to derive pleasure or a feeling of power from murdering a defenseless creature.

And I can't begin to imagine how any people could lower themselves to making a profit from endorsing this loathsome, inhumane behavior. It's utterly repugnant, even for bumper sticker manufacturers.

The driver is a big sweaty imbecile wearing a trucker hat over nappy shoulder-length hair, a faded tank top, and once blue Levi's that may have fit around his beer-bloated, wrestling-and-monster-truck-watching, sweat hog ass, some 15 years and 1,015 Milwaukee's Best 24-packs ago.

If intelligence was what determined a creature's worth, then this guy would have been road kill long ago, I think to myself.

Some people think humans are worth more than other animals because we're smarter, capable of building trucks that can crush less intelligent animals. And to them, I guess we are worth more, because value is determined by the valuer. But since we are more intelligent, we should be able to realize the consequences of this reasoning (or lack thereof).

In other words, don't complain when someone smarter knocks you off, tough guy.

If some aliens stop by our planet and vaporize us just because they can, it will be perfectly justified, according to this attitude. There are too many people who do not respect life, life in any form.

If your idea of appreciating nature is hunting, you probably don't know enough about nature to respect it. After all, killing something is a strange way of showing your appreciation for it.

I don't think humans are any better than other animals. Higher intelligence evolved because it helped us survive and reproduce more efficiently.

Other animals have their own adaptations. Cheetahs have speed. Walruses have blubber. We have our biological niche, and they have theirs.

Contrary to the popular misconception of it, evolution is not a hierarchy. Evolution has no goal. Creatures do not evolve into higher forms, but into different ones that survive and reproduce more successfully in their current environment.

Sea slugs are better adapted to ocean life than humans are, but that doesn't make them intrinsically worth more. We're mammals, and we're right there with the insects and the bacteria: successful in our own niche.

Humans are too pompous after all. If any other animal has too much breeding success, we

call it a pestilence. Roaches and rats survive with resiliency despite our efforts to eliminate them.

And they have this success without destroying their own habitat in the process, the way humans do.

So who's really superior, if anyone? Long after we've killed ourselves off, the rats and roaches will still be here after suffering through our ecologically deadly existence.

But I don't think the sick people who like to run over animals really give a fat, highly adaptive rat's ass about any of this. I'd bet the guy in the four-wheel drive death machine in front of me couldn't care less about evolution even if he did understand it.

As he turns into the same shopping center that I'm headed for, I think about accosting him in the parking lot and telling him what a pretentious, ignorant asshole he is, or asking him how he would like to be squashed to death by some larger creature who thinks that just because it has evolved more advanced cognitive abilities, his little human life is worthless -and I think of asking him who he got to read the bumper sticker to him before he decided to put it on his truck.

Instead, I just flatten all his tires.

Even the big spare one bolted onto the truck's undercarriage.

When he comes marching out of the store with an 18-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer under each arm and sees his big, fat, blood-stained tires limp and useless in the summer heat, he curses furiously and glares across the parking lot, spitting and cracking his knuckles.

I can scarcely contain my disgust. He can't believe someone would be such a stupid

inconsiderate prick to do a thing like that to him.

Jon Ward is an astronomy and creative writing junior. His column, Who's the Bull goose Looney, appears every Thursday and he can be reached via e-mail at