The Dawn of the Dude

 |  March 30, 2010

2. Son of a Beach

I have to confess that this article was submitted to Citylife way past the official deadline. But I have a great excuse: you see, I’d accidentally de-evolved by some 100,000 years. This is what happens when you stay on a cheap Thai beach for too long: aside from growing naked and hairy and eating a treeload of fruit, your brain invariably shuts down. Of course, confronted by the important things in life – watermelon, warm breezes and watersports – the cerebral cortex has no choice but to deem itself obsolete and reroute its ration of blood elsewhere.

According to a popular evolutionary scenario, the human race probably spent the vast majority of its history hanging out on the edge of a huge lake in what is now Ethiopia. This lake conferred several evolutionary advantages: 1) protection from predatory cats; 2) an endless supply of food and drink; and 3) an easy place for horny adolescents to fool around.

Well, that’s a modern-day Thai beach in a nutshell. Except for the cats. But there sure was plenty of eating and reproductive activity going on. On the other hand, save for an old German woman attempting a Sudoku puzzle, forebrain activity appeared virtually nil.

Evolutionary Psychology explains the human mind this way: man is emotionally adapted to live as his ancestors did about 100,000 years ago. Consequently, if we’re unhappy or neurotic, it’s because human beings weren’t meant to toil in cubicles and travel at high speeds in tin cans. Rather, we were meant to take it easy on tropical beaches. Untold millennia of evolution have carefully crafted our sensibilities and tastes so that we feel the most ‘at home’ here, staring out over the waves, eating fish and fruit, and (when the coast is clear) screwing underwater.

Of course, evolution also gifted humans alone with a foreboding sense of guilt. Somewhere in the miasma of my mammal mind I recalled that I had agreed to send in an article and that my editor might be upset with me if I didn’t. So I roused myself from the Pleistoscenery and banged out this article, just in time for another glorious sunset and coconut beverage.

In The Big Lebowski, the main character survives all variety of ill-fortune and mistreatment. But the one thing that really gets his goatee is when someone pushes him while he has a cocktail in hand. ‘Careful man, there’s a beverage here!’ the Dude exclaims.

Given our link to that long lost lake, what could be more important than safeguarding one of its descendants?

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