Fecal Pushers

After many years of practice, there are certain types who have mastered the art of shit-pushing and some who have not.  A quick menagerie of the art…


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One of my favorite caught-in-the-act corrections:  I wasn’t kissing your wife Sir.  I was whispering in her mouth!  Then find the nearest exit.

Two industries that most everyone would agree shovel out “pretty” bullshit on a regular basis have to be financial investment companies and sales personnel.  Hello Ma’am, you will be amazed by this latest iPhone…a must have!  Just $299 or $39 for 48 months for FAST 4G speeds and a ba-jillion apps you’ll probably never use!  Or Sir, you are going to be blown away by our new-fangled Hedge-that-Risk-Away fund with a simple monthly direct-debit from your checking account, plus initiation fees, handling, commission, and risk-management fees!

Sound familiar?

I could never be an aggressive sales rep and survive unless I was selling donated organs to terminally ill patients and their families.  But there are some who can make the stinkiest bullshit smell like a rose garden.  And then there are those whose art is necessary, beneficial yet tragic.

The Clean-up Crew

Imagine living in a community that has no trash pickup and disposal, running indoor water/plumbing, no dishwashers, and no washing machines.  Would you cleanup after yourself, in every manner?  Would you cleanup after others, in every way?

Clean-up crew hard at work

Clean-up crew hard at work

Next time you are served a meal you cringe over, think twice about it because there are insects that would have a feast on your waste.  Actually, they do feast…and not just after humans.  Wherever there is fecal waste, there are most likely dung beetles.  They are life’s natural cleanup crew and they are remarkably resourceful.  They are tumblers, they are spelunkers, and they are dwellers.  They make the most of human or animal waste.

Dung beetles are a critical part of nature’s biocycle.  By eating and burying feces, dung beetles recycle vital nutrients into the soil and bury waste that otherwise attracts disease-carrying pests such as flies.  They also help new trees grow.  For example, in the rain forest, monkeys eat fruit where seeds are sometimes undigested.  When the dung beetle arrives at the aftermath, it packs up the feces into a ball, seeds and all, rolls it away and buries it.  Soon after up sprouts a new tree!  On a given night, one dung beetle can roll and bury up to 250 times its own weight in shit!  Imagine that workout.

But these hardworking necessary beetles don’t have it easy.

Shit-pushing Is No Walk in the Park

Every morning as part of my workout, I briskly walk 2-miles; one mile down, one mile up.  The hilltop I live on has about a 23-degree steep grade up or down for about 70-80 yards.  As I’m heading down the hill one morning, I notice in the middle of the drive a dung beetle perilously rolling his dung-ball across the cement.  Every so often he struggled to keep his dung-ball from turning down the steep hill.  Watching this beetle toil for his hard-earned shit, I couldn’t help but sympathize with his adversity.  I watched in amazement and suspense.  What would come of this beetle’s precarious effort?  Would he succeed and beat the odds?  Or would I be witness to horrific shit and beetle carnage?  The cliff-hanger moment was building with every revolution of his dung-ball.

The hill of dung carnage; blood & beetle parts edited out to protect the weak-stomachs.

The hill of dung carnage; blood & beetle parts edited out to protect the weak-stomachs.

He crossed the midway point of the drive still pumping those hind-legs over his neatly packed shit.  Five more feet to go.  Can he do it?  Four feet.  I find myself cheering him on.  Three and a half.  Then he and his shit-ball hit a bump.  Should I intervene like the hand-of-God, showing mercy and compassion for the shit this beetle has put up with?  NO FRICKING WAY!  And then as my questions of shit-miracle-ing lingered, everything went south….literally.  I began laughing my ass off.  Everything was out of control.  The “wheels came off” but the rolling kept going, and going, and going!  If Herbert Morrison of the Hindenburg disaster had been there he would have screamed “Oh the Bee-manity!

Sorry.  I should be more compassionate.  I should pay homage to this epic dung-beetle’s demise.  Let us bow our heads.

He was a brave shit artist.  The bravest I had ever seen.  He hung on to his shit-ball for five, maybe six revolutions down that hill-of-no-return!  Finally, the cruel speed and momentum….perhaps a killer dizzying headache too separated this warrior from his meal.  He tumbled two or three times behind that ball before coming to a most abrupt end.  In his never-say-die attitude, he scrambled to gain his senses, and immediately went searching for his runaway shit-ball.  But it was too late.  I watched that ball roll down the hill…way down the hill about 50 yards – two state lines in beetle distance – before bouncing off the drive into the ditch and disappearing in the grass.  It was gone.  Done.  This dung-expert had lost his shit.

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As utterly hilarious as I found this dung-beetle carnage, I had to find the teaching moment:  what is the moral of this story?

No matter how good or pretty smelling it is…don’t push your shit up hill.  You might lose it and it will come rolling back on you.

What moral story can you apply?  Let me hear them all.

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Footnote – on a cool etymology note, it has been recently discovered that these dung-beetles navigate their dung-balls by the stars in the Milky Way galaxy; their GPS if you will.  Click here.

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No That’s Not What We Meant

Mayan-CalendarFriday, December 21st, 2012 has come and gone without any apocalyptic event, and perhaps to the chagrin of many hyper-dooms-dayers.  Much of the fears and predictions are fortunately based in the misunderstanding of the Mayan calendars and how they worked within the 250 – 900 BCE civilization.  Attempting to project contemporary ideas of time onto the ancient Mayan methods of time would be like attaching square wheels to your car — it is a show of ignorance.

The Mayans had three circular calendars, each with a different purpose.  The first calendar was their Tzolk’in calendar, or Sacred calendar.  It consisted of 260 days and was used for scheduling religious ceremonies.  When the calendar was exhausted it would simply start over again.

The second circular calendar was their Haab’, or Secular calendar.  This consisted of 365 days but did not account for the extra quarter-day it takes Earth to cycle around our Sun.  Our miscalculated modern Western calendar corrects this by adding a leap year about every four years then removing the extra February day the following three years.

The third circular calendar and the one receiving most of the hoopla is the Long Count calendar.  This calendar consisted of about 5,125.36 years and completes its major cycle every December 21st.  Once exhausted, another 5,125 years will begin again.  What astronomers have since learned in the last several decades is that our Sun indeed aligns with the center of the Milky Way, however, pinpointing the exact date cannot be determined in any particular year.  What forms the “Milky Way center” is still a debate among scientists.  They also gladly report that there is no alignment-phenomena of planets or the Sun that will pull Earth’s crust apart or shift its magnetic poles on a specific date.

Our solar system, our planet, and much of the cosmos are cyclical; things ebb and flow, collapse and morph into new creations over and over.  What most scientists, astronomers, geologists, and the like do agree on is that there are any number of catastrophic possibilities that could change our lives on Earth as we know it.  This is a common fact.  It could happen on any given day, but to prophesy an exact date and time is as likely as you picking winning Lotto numbers.

For a good logical scientific explanation of the Mayan calendars, read the article at Live Science.

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Live Laugh Love

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.wordpress.com.