The evolution of the raccoon

March 30, 2008 at 1:23 pm (Fróðleikr, Smáskitligr) (, , , , )

These funny shuffling creatures that steal your garbage have mastered the art of nonchalance. Not a cat’s apathy, which only looks intelligent, but is really a quirk of misinterpretation, a blank face that reveals only an idle brain. Cats affect nonchalance when affronted, a fragile mood; their resolve weakens at a passing ankle; they cannot help but show their ire.

Nonchalance in the face of danger brings rewards. It is not blind courage, blundering forward with only the vaguest qualms. It knows the danger only too well; it just doesn’t feel particularly threatened by it. While courage avoids fear like the plague, nonchalance feels only so much fear as is necessary to achieve its aims.

The surest sign of emotional intelligence in a being is habitual nonchalance. ‘Ware the raccoon! Its stooping gait reveals gradual adoption of a two-legged stance; its tiny hands are too dextrous to be paws. It habitually outwits us and our pets in search of scraps. It retains its sharp teeth and warm fur, while adopting well to suburban habitation.

We can only fight the gradual rise of the raccoon to dominance with our superior intellect, but our grasp is slipping; the leaders of the free world have no capacity for nonchalance. Take heed, America.

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