This week’s long-winded Friday Five is mine:
In the depths of a dream, a voice speaks unto you:
Little one! Little one!
You’re not sure who it is, but it doesn’t occur to you to ask. so you just listen.
Listen, I haven’t been to earth in a long time, but I have some good data here that suggests unless five species are made extinct, the whole planet will simply shut down within a week. I haven’t visited in a long time, and you humans seem the closest thing to sentients on Earth. I need your help. Doesn’t matter which species, it’s a mathematical problem, not a pragmatic problem! That means any species will do. What can you do without?
Who is this? God? Some other long-lost deity? The Demiurge? Maybe an alien wildlife preserve officer responsible for this corner of the Milky Way? You can’t be sure, and this may just be a dream, but just the same, it might be a good idea to make some suggestions. Which five species would you nominate for extinction, for the sake of the rest of all life on Earth? Remember, if you don’t answer, it may just be a dream… or you may be refusing to save the majority of life on Earth. And yes, the definition of “species” for this question is more fluid than we might imagine. (I’d include viruses and so on.)
Oh my God. What made me ask this question in the first place? Okay, let’s see, what creatures do I think we could do without?
It’s a tough question. Obviously, the die-out of a few species isn’t going to kill us all. But on the other hand, who wants a whole species daying out on his say-so? What do you do, pick the five most endangered species and then just cross ’em off the list, and write it off as necessity? Or do you pick species specifically annoying to humans? Do you try to choose the five most dangerous species threatening life on earth? It’s far too hard a question… but I’ll have a go, since I penned the damned thing.
- Cockroaches. Sorry, but they’re useless to us. I don’t care if they’re the last great hope of intelligence on Earth in the case of a mass extinction event. They’re just disgusting. They have GOT to go. If asked to specify, I’d choose five different species of cockroach, but we’ll assume I can only wipe out one, so it’s going to be the big ones.
- Those really endangered Condors. I mean, some bottlenecks are just too narrow to make it through alive. They’re unlikely to make it for long, so I don’t mind putting them on the list.
- The panda. I know, it’s cute. But they’ve vicious, and there’s so few of them anyway; Pandas matter in and of themselves, yes, but they don’t matter more than their far more successful competitors. Besides, it might embarrass China into actually putting its back into its environmental reforms.
- I can’t put mosquito on, since I bet they’re a hugely important part of the food chain; and houseflies are out because maggots are medically rather useful; so what is left? Hmmm. I betcha I could think of some rare, highly poisonous snake I wouldn’t mind never ever meeting in this life. But that would take more research than I’m willing to do at this moment.
- CEOs. These people are the most dangerous creatures on Earth, ecologically, pathologically, hell, just logically; I am absolutely certain we can do without most of them, and the few who we could use, well, they can’t complain after having lived so luxuriously for so long off the efforts of we commoners, can they?
I’m sure my list is somewhat unfair, skewed, even screwed, but if you’re convinced you can do better, I’d like to see your list. And if you want to see others’ lists, check the Friday Fivers out in the right sidebar: there are links galore.