1000 Words of Free Flowing Hostility on kids being stupid and adults not much smarter.
So by all accounts I was actually a pretty intelligent kid. (I know, I know... what the hell happened?) Really though, I was even labeled "gifted." I could read by age two. I was a backgammon mastermind by age five. I invented the internal combustion engine at age seven. I started programming computers when I was about nine. You know, all the usual smart kid stuff. But what I don't get is that I had one obvious mental flaw that a lot of kids seem to have. I liked cartoons and the Dukes of Hazzard. I liked reading and drawing. I liked to play video games and pinball. All quite reasonable stuff. For some reason I didn't actually believe in boxing. I thought it had to be fake. But hey, I was just a kid. And also, it turns out that I wasn't too far off in many cases anyway. What I don't get is why, like so many other kids, I liked snow. It really just doesn't make and JayZdamn sense. Adults get that snow sucks. You have to shovel it, its cold, you fall all over the place. It's a major pain in the ass. But those are all the things that kids seem to love about snow.
Even after I was old enough to start shoveling snow (probably at like age three, my mother being a slave driver who only had kids so that she could make them do chores), I still found it fun to go out and play in. I mean, I get that snow is pretty. I still feel that. I get the appeal of certain snow-based activities. Sledding, skiing, ice-skating. I still think those are fun things to do. I even get snowboarding, though I still consider it thoroughly evil since snowboarders tend to ruin the snow for the real skiers. That all makes sense. There is an actual activity going on there. But little kids, they don't even have an activity in mind. 40 below, 8 feet of snow on the ground and a little kid can't wait to just go outside and jump in it for no good reason at all. That makes no damn sense, I tell you. I mean I had a fucking genius level IQ. What kind of sense did it make to lay in the middle of the snow and wave your arms and feet back and forth to make snow angels and catch hypothermia? They don't even look like real angels for JayZ's sake.
I'm not going to pretend that I've always made the most intelligent decisions in my life. Or that everything I do makes sense. My favorite past times include paddling down river rapids in watercraft that technology outdated centuries ago and having grown men pick me up and drop me on my head. But I at least realize that those things are fun if irrational. But then you have someone like Evelyn, beststephi's niece, who threw a fit last weekend because her father wouldn't let her leave the house without putting a coat on. Sure she's only two. She might not know what hypothermia is. But she knows what cold is, right? She gets that being cold sucks. Why on earth would you want to be cold? Isn't seeking shelter and warmth some innate instinct that is programmed directly into our genetic code right next to eat regularly and have as much sex as possible? Are there baby birds that bitch to their parents that they don't want to fly south for the winter?
Maybe in humans the survival instinct just kicks in a little later than it does with smarter animals like dolphins, pheasants and our brother the mighty cockroach. So when did it happen? When does a person grow the instinct that surviving is a good idea? I'm pretty sure that by my teen years I was beyond the urge to lay in the snow for the sake of laying in the snow. And though I liked a good snow because I was an avid skier, I was smart enough to wear a coat, and even long underwear whenever I went out to do it (sadly, my best skiing years were before the advent of Under Armour™. But, I always hear people say that the problem with teenagers in general is that they are unaware of their own mortality. And now that I think about it, I used to take highly excessive risks when I was skiing, and I also had a rather odd hobby of climbing to rooftops and jumping between buildings. Clearly I wasn't as bright as I wanted to believe I was. So did I get better in my twenties? Not really. Anyone who knew me in my early twenties and watched the things I did in drunken pursuit of a good time, would probably agree that survival wasn't really at the top of my list of priorities. Partying to where you accidentally set your hand on fire, not really the safest thing in the world. I did it twice. Now I'm in my thirties. And like I said, my favorite hobby is getting dropped on my head.
So maybe the answer is that humans don't really have a survival instinct. Maybe that's our big problem as a species. Maybe the actual truth is that the fondest dream of every newborn person is to someday end his or her own life in as spectacular a way as possible, and at age 5, the best you can come up with is laying in a snow bank and waving your arms back and forth. The fact that in the subsequent twenty-five years I have come up with increasingly exciting and more effective activities to Darwin my way out of the gene pool is mere testament to my own personal genius. The fact that some thirty years, five months and twenty-two days in to trying and I still haven't pulled it off yet... Well, I guess that's just my incompetence.