By J. Javid
When I got the latest issue of National Geographic the other
day, I glanced at the cover. That's the only thing I look at when I pick
up any magazine these days. I don't even look at the cartoons in The New
Unlike the covers of all the other magazines, this one hit me: A partial
skull with large eye sockets and a smashed nose. No broad grin as one would
naturally expect on the face of every skull. How curious.
I didn't want to read the article because I knew I wouldn't believe
a word of it. I've had it with anthropologists, archaeologists and everyotherologists
theorizing and philosophizing so much out of so little.
I looked at the cover again. For some reason, I thought I knew the man.
In fact, I knew him quite well. Yes. Freek was his name.
Freek (the forefather of modern day Friedrich) was not your normal,
everyday Neandertal. He wasn't that big or strong. He didn't like hunting.
In fact he didn't hunt at all. He wasn't into biting women; he kissed them.
And he didn't grunt either; he meowed.
Precisely. A complete, utter disaster.
The rest of the pack didn't understand the poor soul. How could they?
We're talking Neandertals here. This is before human beings were human
beings. If you think the likes of Freek are rare and awkward today, imagine
how it was back then.
They would drag him to hunting campaigns. He would hide behind rocks
and once others trapped an animal, he would jump out and try to stop them
from clubbing the living being senselessly to death. He would utter some
total nonsense like, "Be humane."
Freek was not just a puny Neandertal. He was an artiste too.
He brought hunted animals to life by drawing them on cave walls. But what
annoyed the hell out of everyone was that he would not stop talking.
He always had something to say. You'd name it, he'd start talking about
it. On and on and on. Meow m-meow m-meow (Blah bl-blah bl-blah). About
Trees. Stars. Mountains. Ants. Obviously, grand speeches on freedom, women's
rights and --heaven forbid -- mammoth rights were not far off.
He had it comin'.
One day he was sitting next to Axo (Axel) the leader of the pack. It
was not a good time to sit next to Axo. It was the middle of winter and
food was scarce. Axo had not slaughtered an animal for two days. Axo was
not happy. And the last person he wanted to see -- or hear -- was Freek.
Freek, on the other hand, was in a good mood. His imagination was running
wilder than usual. He was about to talk about a whole new subject. He was
very excited. He opened his mouth: "I had a dream..." WHACK!!
Axo felt much better. Freek? Well, Freek was history.
The Internet's most remarkable achievement is the near elimination of
what I would call the "Whack Factor." Freeks the world over can
talk all they want, about anything they want, to an audience as big as
the globe. And no one can touch them.
Think about it. As early as a few hundred years ago, people had to bow
to The Church and bribe scribes to get published. Even today, you have
to get the a-OK from censors, publishers, broadcasters and editors. And
let's not forget the loads of money it takes to get a book out, make a
movie or print a magazine.
As we all know, the threat of being whacked is still very real. But
at least on the Internet, the Whack Factor is substantially reduced because
there are so many Freeks online that eliminating all of them is just too
impractical. Axos have no choice but to live with us.
You may think Freek is now smiling in heaven. The Internet is his sweet
revenge. And he made it on the cover of one of the best magazines on Earth.
I have a feeling, though, that Freek wouldn't want revenge or fame.
Only a chance to finish his sentence.