A gazillion years ago, a lonely single cell decided to divide and create a friend and though the process was primitive and untried, the cell heaved and pulled and pushed and in a moment of spontaneous creation split into two cells one slightly larger than the other one. The smaller cell looked at his former self and said, “Geez, that guy is huge!”I don’t know why in that moment the larger cell didn’t just swallow the smaller cell whole, or roll over and squish the smaller cell flat. But I do know that it didn’t happen that way because as a descendent of the larger cell, I am here to write this story.
Evolution, if you believe in that sort of thing, must have a sense of humor. Survival of the fittest doesn’t mean what all of the exercise gyms want you to think it means. In truth, survival of the fittest just means that in some way each species, big or small has at least one ability or skill that enables it to survive. I believe that evolution must have given fat creatures intelligence or something that was the key to their survival.
In pre-historic times, men were expected to kill something and drag it home to eat. This required them to be fleet of foot and in excellent condition to track a gazelle or bison, attack it with their bare hands (it was a time before tools after all), kill the beast, and then drag it home to gnaw on the remains. It is during this time that we are introduced to our hero, Grog, the fat caveman. Evolution was good to Grog because even though he could smell a herd of bison and gain ten pounds, Grog was still successful because all the extra weight he carried around with him must have contained a few more ounces of brain than the average skinny caveman. Grog’s intelligence made him able to survive and endure the other average skinny cavemen who used to laugh and call him names like “Ugh!” which translates into “Fat Cave Guy.”
Grog was an inventor of sorts because as we all know “Necessity is the mother of Invention.” Grog didn’t know much about necessity, but he knew that chasing around after bison and gazelles just didn’t cut it. It was tiring and made him winded and frankly, there had to be a better way. Grog began to hang out at the cave sometimes when the other cavemen when out on the hunt. The other cavemen laughed at him and talked about him while they were gone, making gestures with their hands to describe his rotund size. Grog was hurt, but his feet hurt more so he stayed behind.
One day while the hunters were out, Grog was at the cave mixing different berries together and accidentally invented the cold compote. All the women tried his new dessert and they loved it and all said, ‘Ugh!’ which translated means “Man, this is great! Can I get the recipe?” Just as Grog’s self-esteem began to rise, he heard a noise outside that he knew instinctively. It was a saber-toothed tiger coming to try out the new fast food cave and grab a quick cave dweller burger.
Thinking quickly, Grog looked around and saw a huge boulder near the cave entrance that was so large that no one had ever tried to move it. Grog was feeling encouraged from the success of his compote so he moved as quickly as he could to the boulder and began to put his weight behind it and to the amazement and relief of all the cave women, he rolled the stone in front of the cave entrance effectively closing the fast food cave off from the saber-toothed tiger and saving all of the cave women from becoming the first quarter pounders. The prettiest cave woman of them all came up to Grog and said ‘Ugh” which translates into “Wow, you big strong caveman! You’ve saved us all from the terrible saber-toothed tiger. I think I like you!” which made Grog feel very special indeed.
When the hunters came back empty handed, they found the saber toothed tiger slinking around the cave entrance still trying to get in so they killed him for supper instead. Then the stone began to move away from the cave entrance and out came Grog with the prettiest cave woman of them all on his arm after having just invented the door. The other cave women all told the exciting story of how Grog saved the day and gave the hunters some of his cold compote to eat with their tiger dinner. And the hunters never laughed or called Grog names again.
Oh, there was some jealousy from the meaner, less intelligent hunters because after all Grog had won the affections of the prettiest cave woman of them all. But all in all, Grog’s new life as an inventor was going pretty well. He decided that his efforts were best focused on inventing since there was so much job satisfaction in creating new things. Everyone in the tribe benefited from his expertise and though he still had a weight problem (his sedentary work habits contributed to this I am sure) life was good for Grog and his new cave wife.
At first, Grog would simply look around and see the different jobs that the women were doing and he tried to do them too. Very quickly he would become tired of the work and invent something else to help make the job easier. For example, when Grog first joined the women, they would go out each morning and gather berries. Unfortunately, they had nothing to put them in, and so would fill both their hands and then walk all the way back to the cave and drop the berries in a pile on the cave floor. Besides the obvious health hazards, it took a lot of trips to and from the cave to gather enough berries for even a small cold compote and Grog figured there had to be a better way. So, the next morning instead of going with the women to gather berries, Grog went off in the opposite direction to be by himself and think about the problem.
As he walked through the woods, he came upon an empty turtle shell that was all that remained of a pre-historic turtle that had fell upon hard times and died there many moons ago. Since the shell was upside down, Grog instantly recognized the value and said, ‘Ugh!’ to himself which translates into “Gee whiz! If we fill that with berries we can carry more berries at one time and thus save us many trips to the cave!” From that day forward, Grog spent a lot of time looking for dead turtles and other things that he could potentially use as bowls. The cave women were very happy with Grog because now instead of picking berries for most of the morning, they could finish that job a lot earlier and do things they liked much more such as sitting around and complain about their husbands and admire Grog’s bulk, oops, I mean brain.
One evening, as Grog watched everyone gnawing on the bison the hunters brought home, Grog began to think that it would be a lot easier if everyone could gnaw on their own piece of bison. He saw the biggest hunter pull off a leg that had been gnawed pretty well and move away from the crowd of cave gnawers and sit by himself and he seemed to enjoy his meal much more away from the hustle and bustle of the bison buffet.
The next day, Grog began to experiment with sticks and stones to see how they would work on the remains of the bison. Fortunately, he picked up a flat, sharp stone and discovered quite by accident that it would cut the meat and bones very nicely. If he could just find more of those flat stones, then everyone could have their own and use them to cut their very own pieces of bison meat. Frustrated by the lack of flat stones, he began to idly hit one stone with another stone listening to the interesting sound he heard as one stone clicked against the other. Grog began to experiment with the rhythm as he struck the stone and discovered that he really liked the new sound. And just as he began to play a tune, a sliver of stone broke off the rock he was hitting and it was very sharp indeed. Grog said to himself, ‘Ugh!’ which translated means “Wow, not only have I figured out a way to make our own sharp flat stones, we can enjoy the music while we work!”
The hunters and the women were very happy because their lives had been improved again, especially his cave wife, the prettiest cave woman of them all. Since they had all the extra time he had saved them from gathering berries, they had plenty of time to make sharp flat stones to save them even more work. The hunters liked to have their own pieces of bison to gnaw on and everyone appreciated Grog even more.
One day while making flat stones, one of the cave woman screamed ‘Ugh!’ which translated means “Ouch! I hit this stone and a spark came off it and landed in the dry grass and smoke came up and when I touched the grass it burned my finger!” Grog raced over to the burning grass which happened to be right next to the remains of the last piece of bison the woman had brought to gnaw for lunch and he saw the meat turning brown and sizzling. Grog’s mind went into overdrive as the chef within him began to formulate his newest recipe. He picked up the piece of brown bison meat and gnawed on it a little bit and found it tender and tasty and very much something he wanted more of. And Grog said to himself, ‘Ugh!’ which translated means, “Hey! I think this grilled bison is excellent and tasty and we should have more of this!”
The next day, Grog began to work out the details of fire and grilling and within a week or so, he was inviting everyone to try his Cajun grilled bison and they were all saying ‘Ugh!’ which translated means “Grog! This is wonderful! Can we get the recipe?” and everyone was proud of Grog especially his wife, the prettiest cave woman of them all.
One day after everyone had eaten and they were sitting around the remains of the glowing, grilling coals, Grog noticed that everyone was getting bored. They had no work left to be done because all of the inventions he had created saved them so much time that usually after dinner there was nothing left to do except chase the kids around the room and that was tiring work in and of itself. Grog figured that he could probably solve the problem if he could just put his mind to it and so he sat alone with his cave wife and began to think upon the problem. At that moment one of the hunters spoke up and said, ‘Ugh, Ugh, Ugh!’ which translated means “Boy, what a hunt we had today! The bison was very angry and he chased us up and down the plain before we turned on him and threw our spears that Grog made us and we were able to kill him before he killed us.”
Grog thought about that story and it made him remember all those hunts he went on before he changed professions and became an inventor. He remembered the thrill of the hunt and tried not to remember how winded it made him. And while he remembered those times he imagined them in his head and saw the pictures of those moments and he wanted to remember them forever because in his heart of hearts he truly missed being out on the plains chasing gazelle and bison. His heart longed for those times, but he knew that he was too heavy and that his life was too good with his cave wife, the prettiest cave woman of them all, for him to go back to being a hunter.
He realized after a few minutes that he had a stick in his hand and that he had been scratching on the ground with the stick while he remembered. And, he realized that the scratches resembled a bison, so he scratched some more and drew a gazelle. And he said to himself, ‘Ugh!’ which translated means, “Hey, that’s pretty cool! Perhaps I can do more of this for everyone to enjoy!” So, the next morning as all the hunters went off to hunt and all the cave women went off to gather berries, Grog stayed in the cave and using a left over piece of charred wood from last night’s grill, he began to draw pictures on the walls of the cave.
That night after everyone returned home and ate their grilled gazelle, Grog took them all into the cave and showed them his pictures of the hunt that he had drawn and all of the cave people said together, ‘Ugh!’ which translated means “Wow, TV!” And everyone was proud of Grog especially his cave wife, the prettiest cave woman of all. And they all elected Grog the leader of the cave tribe and they became the most successful cave tribe of them all with everyone wanting to join their tribe because they were so wealthy and their lives were so rich.
Grog, The Fat Caveman, became famous in his day and his work produced a legacy that we all take advantage of today. Perhaps, evolution has a sense of humor and perhaps survival of the fittest simply means much more than we think it does. Either way, I’m proud to be a descendent of Grog, the fat caveman, and you should be too. All Grog knew was that inventing got him everything he always wanted in life and he didn’t have to chase it down and he didn’t have to get too winded doing it. And best of all, it got him married to the prettiest cave woman of all the cave woman which by the way is where I get my good looks.