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Being Catholic, I always wonder when I see those bumper stickers: "What would Jesus Do?" Considering Jesus supposedly never had sex, was apparently infallible, and didn't seem taken up in basic biology, like getting constipated or the reverse, that tend to rule my day to day, I especially wonder what that model of divinity could instruct or know of my basic issues.
These issues are deciding how to dress, what to eat, how to negotiate with a 2 year old or my wife or when to wake and sleep in my daily realm of poops, horniness and inescapable fallibility. In these areas asking "What would Jesus Do?" feels a bit out of touch with my realities on the ground, as they say.
So it is with amusement over the last year or so that my family has heard me wonder: "What would Caveman do?"
Caveman has many advantages over Jesus in advising us on the basics. Caveman had indigestion, was horny, was very likely even dumber and at least as conflicted as I am, and no doubt had to deal with real and imagined spiders of every kind. In addition to admiring him, I feel empathy for him and therefore believe that Caveman understands some of my problems. In addition to all this, Caveman had the benefit of not being confused by notions, ideas, conventions, the high church of Institution or the mass media.
Caveman focused on the basics - and survived; both high goals for me.
Anyone will laugh, wondering how Caveman could possibly be instructive. But I keep finding Caveman has a lot tell. Take eating for example. Caveman never ever, ate a breakfast sausage with cheese sandwich. Cro-magnon families ate meat, grain, wild carrots, beets, onion, turnip and other foods. Lots of roots apparently, but not frozen patties to any degree. It would be the most basic foolishness to conclude therefore we should not eat McGriddles. My mouth waters driving by them. Imagine caveman style in a world sheer with without and dead at 35!
Jesus at least had wine to work with, and who would suggest Jesus and Caveman wouldn't have worked miracles with my iPhone?
Since at 38 I'm not interested in being dead, and I'm very attached to my warm warm bed, the instruction I get from Caveman starts with this: the McWhopper isn't necessary. The Big Mac didn't enter the biology that makes up me. Being cozy, coordinating hunting parties and laughing around a fire afterwards were built into my biology, and are the basis of my bed and phone. Eating for caveman had to center on nutrition. Caveman had to survive in adversity. The McSandwich, as a processed food is patently not nutritious. Neither is fudge cake or dairy queen sundaes. These foods are not the staples of surviving in adversity.
So perhaps I can notice they are luxuries, like a marble bath or heated toilet seat. I can live happily without them - they could be cut if adversity increased. But what caveman teaches me about the McSandwich is not, I should not eat it, but rather, why do I want it so much? Driving by Burger King the other morning, I imagined leaping in line to munch a breakfast sandwich. I could taste the croissant and cheese and can smell it even as I write this line.
Caveman never ate them, and they are less nutritious than a carrot pulled out of the ground, so how comes the butter sandwich to so inspire my suburban salivary glands and not the carrot? This is where caveman is instructive, and maybe why he reminds me of Jesus, he gives me a reference of purity from which to ask some questions. In this case the purity is from commercials. It seems to me when I think of a McSandwich I feel the golden hues of commercials plugged into the happy cells of my brain somewhere. When I think of the taste it sparks on parts i can imagine Caveman in ecstasy over, the two times a year he had a mouthful of fresh Mastodon fat.
But day to day it was wild carrots and leaves that sustained Caveman, and these golden hues tucked into my memories by McDonalds have tended not to surround my notion of roots and legumes. Thinking of Caveman however points out to me that it is the carrots and legumes that sustain my biology. And after chomping a recently plucked green been one day recently I wondered about those golden hues McDonalds had made in my brain, and what wonderful commercials might be made around the burst of flavors I felt from this crunchy green bean. Thinking this way with a fresh carrot went the same way. But no corporation makes real profits with just plucking a root from the ground. Capitalism is all about value, and the root must be chopped, ground, molded, added, refined and then packaged for that to work. That is value and therefore marketing and therefore ads and golden hues. But it is the opposite of nutrition. And that is among the interesting observations I get from wondering about Caveman.