Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wonders of paleobiology, ancestral memory, and the internet.

Oh, well, I now know why a Cuban army captain who made my life miserable in the mandatory reserve services during my years in college was terrorized of chicken.
But I first have to tell you how I discovered this.
One day, in a remote camp, we were left with nothing to eat.
And a posse was formed to hunt some wild hens, which at the time were kind of abundant in the open fields of Cuba. Nearby there were a few hens and roosters, of that kind of indefinite breed that is produced when domestic chicken go AWOL and hide in the bush. What emerges from the groves after a few years is a lean chicken, fast, and capable of flying very low for a short distance, enough to get off the collision path with a predator. Of course, that's not very useful when the chicken has to deal with a human predator, hungry and in fatigues, who will put camouflage netting in a bunch of locations in his own determination to eat some deep fried bird. To catch them, all you need is an empty gas canister and a wrench, and use your last energies to bang a noise storm away, and the birds will fly right smack into the netting.
To the horror of that otherwise very sadistic captain, we arrived back into the camp with about 25 chicken, some to be eaten and some to be kept.
The guy went ashen, and started stuttering.... his arms and legs trembled as if some voodoo work has taken effect on him.
He was terrorized of chicken, he was even terrorized of the feathers of the chicken.... As per my high learning of today, I have to forgive the guy for what I thought at the moment that it was just plan old cowardice of the weirdest kind. It happens to be that a few paleobiologists have determined that the only living cousin of the much feared tyrannosaurius rex is the modern chicken!
So, apparently, what happened was that the ancestral memory of the captain kicked in and he remembered his past life as a lowly rodent in a prehistoric forest, with the spawn of a tyrannosaurius rex trying to eat him tail first. Or so I guess!
After his terror -which is scientifically called alektorophobia- was widely known and the guy was certified as alektorophobic it was just a matter of time to give a packet of cigarrets to the mess cook for him to drop a chicken head in his soup.
Then chicken feet will magically appear inside his boots, and in an instance, inside his gas mask. I swear that I had nothing to do with that. Not that you're going to believe me.
And what happened to the captain?
He got lost into an alcoholic fog, and now, poetic justice, he's just a drunken wreck who collects scrap metal and plastic bottles in Havana. I heard that his former victims give him wedgies, but I cannot confirm that, since I am not sure that he can afford underwear!
Ok, I know that I talked about paleobiology and ancestral memories, and you're thinking what does the internet has to do with this story. Stop playing chicken, that without this wonderful invention of Al Gore himself I would not be able to tell y'all the story!