Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture

Life Among the Species

Arthur Danin Adler - Scene4 Magazine

Arthur Danin Adler

A persistent tribute to and an icon for superstition and fear, a stupidly designed  structure with an ugly exterior that denied Greek and Roman engineering and beauty… the angry-god cathedral, Notre Dame, burned down. Notre Dame burned down as millions are starving and near-starving to death. Notre Dame burned down as the most beautiful and triumphant mammal on this planet, the whale, is being driven to extinction by humans in search of profit, by the Japanese in search of vainglory and profit. Notre Dame burned down and immediately the French magnate, Francois-Henri Pinault pledged $112 million to restore the stupidity and ugliness. To date, the totals pledged are in the billions, not to relieve and enhance humanity, but to politically enhance superstition and fear. That, my friends, is the signature of the entire history of the human species, right up to the moment: profit.

And now, it is revealed that Australia is in the process of destroying its feral feline population, estimated to be in the millions. They brought them over to that ill-weathered continent and let them run wild. It’s a serious problem and their answer is to plunder them to death, as they plundered the island’s indigenous population, plundered the indigenous ecosystem, and plundered the English language. Australia is a profitable plunderer.

I have a cat… who is enjoying a long lifetime. His father lived to 20 and his grandfather to 22. He’s a flame-tipped, blue-eyed Siamese and he’s 16. Longevity is in the genetic heritage of his breed. I’ve had many animals in my life: dogs, birds, fish, gerbils and always cats. Actually I don’t “have” him, I’m his guardian not his keeper. Unlike humans, a cat’s sentience is focused on the present, his memories are part of his programming, there is no future. With some effort on my part and none on his, we are simpático.

I can’t abide violence and killing anything: animals, most insects, most plants. Which has led me to a point where I can no longer consume meat, fish or any other creature. It’s not a nutritional thing, it’s an emotional thing since I belong to a species that will stuff anything in its mouth that doesn’t make it throw up. You’re right Emma, I’m either an anomaly or an interstellar alien gone astray.

Here where I’m staying in the tropics there is more than an abundance of living things. Geckos, for the instance, that scramble around my rooms keeping dengue fever at bay. They’re welcome. And then… there are ants. It takes an earnest effort to get them out and keep them out. Recently I was invaded by the tiniest ant I’ve ever seen: 1/4" (6mm). They're almost invisible. They're called: "Crazy Ants" because their dedication and cooperation is here-today, gone-tomorrow (much like saints, miracles, money and scandals) and because they don't move in straight lines. They rush around in crazy circular patterns often making impromptu nests in the strangest places: under an oven mitt, in a crack in the molding, underneath a bed pillow (an unknown and should be researched cause of insomnia). So what to do? In lieu of any poisons, I mixed up some borax and sugar and strategically placed the little enticements around and safe from a cat's nose. Within three days, they were gone. Actually, it was a little sad.  I find ants intriguing as they go about their programmed business without any ideology or philosophy or politics. They do what they do in fascinating ways. If I lived away from the city in a larger place I would never destroy them.

I wonder if Crazy Ants could survive in Notre Dame.
You bet they could.
They've been there since day one.

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Arthur Danin Adler is a playwright, writer and the founding Editor of Scene4. He is the author of Medea Noir, directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms. For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives

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May 2019

Volume 19 Issue 12

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