Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lions and Supermodels

Like the bright golden ring on a carousel, fame is a most attractive thing to a lot of people; they stretch out their arms, grasping for it if ever it comes round their way. They never seem to consider that this elusive goal, once attained, can never be returned. For myself, immense fame has always seemed like a nightmare of sickening proportions; the worst sort of situation in which to be stuck. I feel this way for many reasons, the chief of which is that fame would snatch away one of the more delightful activities I know of: the observation of other humans. For when you are the one constantly being watched, it is impossible to indulge in the study of others.

While sitting with a mug of tea at a sidewalk cafe, peering over a magazine in a crowded airport lounge, or from behind dark glasses on a north-bound train, I am often happily fascinated just considering the people around me. There are few more interesting ways to past the time than contemplating the behaviour of one’s fellow humans when they are unaware they are being watched. I imagine them standing in their closets deciding on the clothes they are wearing, I mark the books they are reading, I study the way they interact with one another. It is so entertaining to conjure up their fictional backstories in my head, often populating entire Agatha Christie novels with the unsuspecting souls around me.

Sometimes, after an afternoon of this sort of observation, I begin to think that being human in this day and age just seems like so much work, especially when compared with those creatures residing in the animal kingdom. Let’s face it, forget the latest cellphone or laptop, disregard the hairstyle or the shoes - whether fat or thin, short or tall, no one is ever going to be as impressive as a Lion no matter what one does. A Polar Bear will always trump a supermodel for sheer beauty and magnificence. Animals just are. They have no need of embroidered clothing or bejeweled stilettos, they require no make-up, wish for no ornament - they could care less about twittering, and no amount of air-brushing or photoshop could ever improve on the purity of their splendid, individual beauty.
Perhaps animals are on earth for more that the whims of man.
Perhaps they have much to teach us.

I must go now and attempt to pretty myself for the day.
Edward, of course, woke up pretty.

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will teach you: or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."
Job 12: 7-10