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Just a Thought - It's Good to be Human


- August 12th, 2005

We humans are so cool!

In the beginning, Man communicated using grunts. There was a specific grunt for every occasion; there was the "Hey! I found a bunch of berries" grunt, the "Man! It sure is hot out here on the savannah in all of this fur" grunt, and the every popular, "Yeah, she's hot if you like your women with that much leg hair," grunt. ( I suppose the French have a bit of catching up to do.)

Then Man organized his grunts into a system, and called it language. The language idea became very popular, and pretty soon everyone was using language to convey ideas like, "Don't step in the mastodon poop, " or "You know, teasing that sabertooth is really not a good idea," and, of course, the ever popular, "Yeah, she's hot if you like your women with exceptionally large eyebrow ridges."

Not satisfied with simple language, Man felt the urge to set his feelings to music, and so songs were born. At first, these songs were mere aural expressions of an emotion set to a catchy beat. When he was angry, say after stepping in a pile of giant sloth droppings, Man might stomp around yelling,
Grus-Grus!" (sung to the tune of 'We will rock you', Queen).

Perhaps, while eating freshly roasted antelope, Man might have crooned:

nog ah nag yum nummy,
(sung to the tune of Let it be, The Beatles).

Maybe after watching a particularly well endowed female amble by, Man might have been moved to moan:

Yun cha nack-snak,
guw chunga-chunga,
klan chatta chaw lat-tak,.

Yun cha nack-snak,
jes yagga jac, klack a mac,
seez chogga wew wha whack!
(Sung to the tune of 'She's a brick house' Ohio Players)

Still, aural exclamations expounded to a catchy beat soon proved inadequate to express the widening range of emotions and ideas contain in Man's expanding grey matter. Someone got the idea of marrying music to real words. The technique has gotten more and more intricate as new ways to create and listen to music and song emerged.

Traveling minstrels serenaded their clients with bawdy or heroic tales set to music. Then the phonograph record allowed the average Joe and Jill to listen to whatever music they liked. The airways soon filled with radio-waves carrying tunes of nearly every description; Classical, Rock,  Jazz, Soul, Rap, and Gospel all vied for the attention of individuals sporting 2 transistor Japanese radios. Then, 8-track and cassette tape appeared. Boom-boxes and Sony Walkman cassette players let people either share their music (often to the pain and chagrin of others standing by), or keep their music private.

Now, in the year 2005, Man has progressed even further with iPods and similar music players: we can now listen to what we want, when we want, and share what we listen to with whomever we want as quietly or as loudly as we want. We can let our music express the emotions felt while watching a slide show or movie, we can create lists of music that then become the soundtrack of our everyday lives, we can even create our own music even if we can't carry a tune in a bucket.

All of this is amazing, and I wrote this because, as I was listening to my iPod this morning, I realized that Man has come full circle. I listened to some podcasts where guys new to speaking on a public forum punctuated their speech with grunts akin to those of early Man. I clicked over to a Bobby McFerrin album, and there he was, vocally expressing himself without words. On to Rap, where words tell stories set to a catchy beat. Then to Prince and Little Red Corvette. Need I say more?

Yep, the more things change, the more they stay the same: Our medium(s) may have changed, but we are still saying basically the same thing;  There's good food over here, protect yourself when you go outside, and yeah, she's hot if you like less J-Lo and more Dolly.

It is good to be human.

is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He's been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

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