Beginning with the most basic survival skills, and moving on through the gathering of food; the discovery of fire; decorating of caves; hunting in groups; learning to live with other people; adjusting to global warming; discovering health remedies; protecting the village against time-share salesmen; and so much more. Early-man -- and woman -- must have been real tough cookies.
And because virtually everything they experienced was on a "first-time" basis, even safe things like water, the sun, forests and storms must have been viewed with fear and skepticism.
"Yo, Grog... Remember that new water hole we found yesterday? How it looked so clean and tasted so wonderful? Right? Yeah, well, did you have to spend the entire night running to 'the slippery place that smells,' and almost soil your loin cloth on the way? Whoa! I about crapped myself inside out. Really? Nothing, huh?"
"No, Crudon," Grog responded, "but did you hear about Ooglon? Seems he killed a torag beast and was just cutting it up when there a loud bang and a giant flash of bright, jagged light came down from the sky... And, suddenly, Ooglon looks like a char-broiled piece o' bacon. Blew the damn sandals right off his feet."
"You're kiddin' me," Crudon exclaimed. "And he's dead?"
"Boy, howdy," Grog said, shaking his head. "I mean, 'Dead' don't really cover just how dead he is. But, guess what? Several people noticed the torag beast was also nicely flame-broiled, looked at each other, and said, 'Well, I'll be. Let's give it a try.' And they said it was delicious! Can you believe that?
Apparently, Ooth-kris is gonna get more hot torag beast meat, set up a few tables and try to sell it with a baked potato. Maybe open several of 'em. World's goin' crazy, ain't it?"
And therein lies the dilemma that has been our generational nemesis ever since:
"As parents, are we really doing children a kindness by bringing them into this uncertain, sometime-beautiful, sometime-violent, ever-changing, ever-challenging world we've created for ourselves?"
Don't you believe Grog ran right home, grabbed his wife, told her all about Ooglon "Extra Crispy," and said, "Katherine, listen to me. Please. Just listen. Besides Ooglon, did you know that, just last week, Obak was attacked by a beast that was kind of woolly and incredibly mammoth. I don't know what they call it, but I do know Obak was freaked out by it. And just the other day I heard some of the elders -- you know, the twenty-somethings -- say there's a village nearby, bigger than ours, and the people in it know about us and don't like us. I mean, who knows why, but we may have to fight with them just to keep our own land.
I'll be honest with you, Katherine. I know you want to have kids, and Lord knows, the process we have to go through is a hoot, but... This world is changing so fast, it scares me. Will the next generation of kids be able to adjust in time? Are we bringing little ones into a world of danger and constant concern over their safety and well-being? Katherine, I'm very worried.
What do you think?"
"I think I'm pregnant, Grog, and I'm very excited."
Well... So much for the wisdom of Grog. But then again, was he completely wrong?
Can't you picture a young husband and wife sitting on their back patio, and the wife asking, "Bartholomew, what is all that banging noise across the field?" And Bart responding, "Yeah, Mildred, can you believe it? Apparently, it's a crazy ol' coot named Noah and he's building some kind of big boat. Calls it an 'Ark' and said God told him to make it sturdy and extra water-proof. 'The' God. If it wasn't so funny, I'd say maybe we shouldn't have any kids. Crackpots like that in the world. Pretty creepy."
"So, what's supposed to happen when this "Ark is finished?" Mildred asked, "I mean, we're not exactly next to an ocean."
"Oh, yeah," Bart recalled, "That's the other part. This Noah guy says it's gonna rain for forty days and forty nights and flood everything. Except him, of course, because he and a few mangy animals he has running around will be snuggled up cozy in their Ark. Oughta be a law."
"Well, based on that little tidbit of knowledge," Mildred reasoned, "I guess we'll just to have make sure any kids we have get swimming lessons right away."
And with that, they laughed heartily and watched the dark clouds roll in.
Or, what about this... Antonio is a young stone mason living in a suburb just outside of Rome. Antonio’s wife, Rosa, is a successful fashion designer who owns the chic "Toga Town" in the mall. They've spoken often about trying to start a family, but as yet, busy schedules have kept them from trying very hard. Right now, life is good, so they decide to wait until "we have a few more gold pieces saved up."
Two or three years later, Antonio and Rosa start to sense that a "deep and profound change" is working it's way throughout Italy, and even beyond. And, while they often embrace change as it concerns fashion and temple building, their instincts tell them: "this change feels a lot different from that."
A few days later, an army of soldiers on horseback came riding into their village demanding to be paid taxes in the name of "Julie" somebody. Taxes? What in the...
Well, turns out, these soldiers actually went into every business and home and told the people how much they had to pay. For apparently, "Taxes" mean:
"You give us a shitload of your money, and we'll ride right on outa' here 'til next year. In the meantime, however, if you need a road repaired, maybe want to build a new school, or you have some natural disaster hit the village... Send a messenger to Rome with all the details and we'll chew on it for awhile and get back to you."
Well, as you can imagine, this did not set at all well with Antonio, Rosa and the other villagers.
"Even with my deductions for hammers, chisels, goggles and gloves," Antonio reasoned, "those thieves want 32% of my wages. We have to stand up to these tyrants and fight back!"
And that sounded terrific until the next year when the tax collectors came thundering into town, eager for the tax collecting to begin. Except.. This time there seemed to be a little demonstration going on in the town square. And instead of bags of money, the residents all had pitchforks, axe handles and steel-toed sandals as if they were expecting some kind of trouble.
The Leader of the Legion of Soldiers calmly rode up to the group and said, ""Hail, Villagers and Countrymen. What's up with the pitchforks and all that other weapon-lookin' stuff?"
"It is because," Antonio proclaimed, "we will no longer pay your taxes, and be subject to your cruel and evil ways! At least not until we elect a representative from this district."
"You're shittin' me, right?" the Leader asked. "You'd really be willing to fight my entire army just to save a few bucks?"
"That's right," Antonio assured him, "And, as Christians, we demand to have our rights respected."
"Christians?" the Leader exclaimed, "Wait a second... Did you just say you're all Christians? Oh, man. Let me just say, as a friend, if you're this upset about a few taxes, you really ain't gonna like Sunday afternoons at "The Forum."
And finally... Joe and Linda are sitting on their back deck when Joe turns to her and asks, "Have you decided yet who you're going to vote for?" "No," she responds. "And I'll tell you why. You know that old saying that, 'Anyone can be elected President?' Yeah, well, I've been given all the proof I need to know it's true."
"Oh, I hear you," Joe sighed. "That's why I'm reluctant to say let's have children. I mean, what's it's gonna be like when they're our age?"
"Joe, I couldn't agree more," Linda assured him. "Seriously, think about all that's happened in just the last forty years. Paper and pencils replaced by typewriters with "White-Out," then word processors, computers with spell-check, the Internet, On-line shopping, identity theft, Skype, One-touch pornography, real-time Pro Wrestling... I tell you, Joe. I'm pretty freaked out by all of it."
"Say no more, Linda, you are preachin' to the choir. And oh, yeah," Joe continued, "how about cell phones? I remember when phones were attached to the wall, and you had to spin the dial to call your friends. Now people carry tiny phones in their pockets and never put 'em down. They talk on'em, type little messages, take pictures, use 'em as calendars to schedule meetings, play 'Candy Crush,' use 'em as maps and travel guides, play their music... Why, before you know it, they'll use those things to get weather reports. I tell ya, Linda, everything's moving just way too fast."
"But, then again, you know what, Joe?" Linda asked with a smile, "Despite all that head-spinnimg technology, rockets flying to the Moon, cars that almost drive themselves, being able to choose from hundreds of TV channels, finding cures for many diseases, and so much more. Don't you still feel we've made tremendous progress in so many other areas? Much more important areas, like social issues and world peace?"
"I'm readin' your mind here, Linda." Joe said with a smile. "To your point, we've come an awful long way with race relations. Now people are fully accepting of one another as human beings, despite any physical differences. And when do you hear anything anymore about problems with immigration? Why, we've got more 'huddled masses' living here than at any other time in our Nation's history."
"Oh, and how about this?" Linda offered, "With all those new people coming here, you'd think safety in our streets might be a problem. Right? Well, not with people respecting the police like they always have. And on a global scale? P-u-l-e-a-s-e! As long as we have so many wonderful, iron-clad agreements in place for nuclear disarmament, people throughout the world can truly sleep like babies."
"We really are lucky, Linda." Joe said with a little chuckle. "In fact, maybe we should start a family."
"Oh, Joe," Linda blushed, "Let's you and I scamper upstairs right now, and 'get busy.' Why, just knowing our lives are so safe and secure, I'll bet we're in for a real good screwin'!"
How about that?