America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
The Dawn of Man to The Neolithic Age - A Survey
By Jason Half-Pillow
Millions of years ago, maybe less, but still far, far back in the deepest recesses of our evolutionary past, man stumbled upon the rudimentary principles of agriculture. Growing food demands certain essential components that man, with his golf ball sized brain, took a lot of time learning to piece together: there is, of course, the seed, the fertilizer, the water, the sunlight, and I’ll stop there because I’m sure you can Google the rest.
First came the fruits and vegetables. These, man ate when he stumbled upon them, wandering in his small nomadic bands across vast swaths of territory. “Swaths” might be too strong a word, but their roaming grounds were large, equal at least to your typical Southern California commute –and remember: they were doing this without cars.
Biologists tell us man’s taste buds are attracted to sweets and fats, and since pork loins didn’t grow on trees, it is safest to assume that early man ate mostly fruits, and once he and his band plucked one tree or bush bare, they moved on to another. Though very stupid, their olfactory senses were as powerful as a basset hound’s, and they could sniff out an apricot tree from miles away. Considering his near total absence of intelligence, this olfactory sense was key to early man’s survival.
Having no idea where their next meal or snack was coming from, these early tribes gorged themselves on whatever fruit they found and ate every last bit of it: peel, core, stem, seeds, and all. As all of us who have eaten too much fruit know all too well, this causes diarrhea.
Thus, as the tribe left one stripped tree to head off and hope to find another, they defecated constantly along the way. And out of their asses came the fertilizer, the seed, and whatever water they had in their system. Though shockingly stupid by today’s standards, early man was still an efficient, one man agricultural machine – dropping out of his ass something akin to a complete garden, ready to go. Out of his ass came veritable fruit tree starter kits that practically planted themselves. Wherever he shat, a sturdy fruit tree sapling was sure to grow there in no time, then keep growing until years later another tribe came along to pluck the vines or branches clean, grunting like morons as they gorged themselves to yet more diarrhea, walking along and crapping out the starts of even more trees.
Early man drank water by simply opening his mouth up while it rained and maintained that posture until it stopped and thus generally always had kinks in his neck. He did not limit his territory to radial areas near fresh running water, simply because he was too stupid to remember in which direction the water lay, though, in time, early man came to be coaxed to such places by their half wolf dogs, who led the way.
The wolf dogs drank copiously from the trickling creeks and streams of running water, but pea-brained early man, in the full throes of being a total dipshit, feared the noise the water made and feared also the sounds his wolf dog friends made lapping it up, and feared more the smiles the dogs shot their way, taking little breathers between gulps.
Man thus went nowhere near the water, and most of the tribe grew dehydrated and died, a tragic outcome of man being so God Damn stupid that went on for many millennia, blighting most of his more mentally than physically arid, ancestral past.
It was not until the lithic age that man mustered the courage to approach running water. He learned to pick up a rock and threaten the water with it and grunt angrily approaching it, until finally he relaxed and dropped to scoop with his other hand mouthfuls of the elixir.
It was running water and chock full of minerals from all the rocks it passed flowing down from the mountains and hills, then so new, so jagged, that they were sharp to the touch, and fatal to the countless dipshits who tried climbing them only to slip and be impaled –all because the rocks “were there.”
But these deaths were few compared to the regenerative powers fresh, running water brought man, and it wasn’t long before his wolf dogs stubbornly refused to go with man more than one mile away from running water, forcing lithic man to settle nearby.
Then a series of earthquakes struck and opened huge chasms filled by rushing water caused by more rapid, mountain top snow melts – those resulting from the noxious farts of Mastodons – the carbon content of which was notoriously high. These waters and new chasms made the first known rivers, that would flood nearby soil, making of it the fertile basis for the first known civilizations.
These rivers soon became abundant with fish that man tried catching with his hands but never could. The dogs, though feasted. However, many of them got sick from the fish mercury and died. Numbskull that he was, lithic age man thought this a curse from the sky for not drinking its water and, in a nonsensical attempt to appease it, built near what would later be the Tigris the first known necropolis that housed dead dogs only.
The first structures were rudimentary, consisting of nothing more than piles of dead dogs, but, over time, as more and more dogs became skeletons, man made more creative use of their remains, using the bones to make the first Xylophone and blowing through the skull nostrils to sound a horn like alarm to warn the tribe of charging Sabertooths.
For reasons that still remain shrouded in mystery, man underwent some kind of sudden, explosive evolution, and his brain size doubled, making him still a moron by today’s standards, but nonetheless capable of at least not beating himself to death with a dead dog’s thigh bone “just to see how it felt.”
It was around this time that man first developed climbing up trees to avoid being eaten by Lions and learned also to throw sticks with sharpened points down at them and is thought to have first tried making hissing sounds in hopes of getting them to go away.
It is believed as many as half those who ran up trees were mauled, then eaten, by pre-historic lions and other big cats when they went down to get back their spears. The smarter ones stayed and went on to have more offspring, which eventually weeded out the really big dipshits from the merely dumb.
There is a vast gap in our knowledge covering the perhaps tens of thousands of years between this lithic “flee to the trees” age and the more advanced neo-lithic age that followed it, bringing agriculture, centralized government, and in some Far Eastern Empires, slave labor systems that rivaled those of Imperial Rome and even those found today in almond groves all over California.
Until we find ruins and artifacts from this “missing gap” age, linking idiotic and civilized man, we are left to only speculate as to what force – or, as is more likely the case, what forces – pushed forward his mental evolution so that man was finally not so stupid that he could finally grasp the whole concept of staying put and planting vegetable gardens and fruit bearing trees.
1 September 2015
Jason Half-Pillow lives in Vicenza, Italy, where the people speak Italian in what sounds to be a Swedish accent. His writing has appeared in many places, including his computer and on unemployment application forms and at the Santa Cruz, California DMV. His writing has also appeared in the Iowa Review, Hobo Pancakes, The Driftwood Press, the Bicycle Review, and The Paris Review, though in the last case, it was his handwriting: he used the inside cover to practice forging his mother's signature. He is left-handed but plays tetherball with his right.