Mar 10, 1975 Sense and Nonsense [Nechako Chronicle]
Charles Darwin had a theory that people are descended from apes. If this is true then a lot of apes may someday be people. It may take a few million years but in the process of evolution anything is possible.
I understand that some apes in the zoo are already practicing to become people. Five baboons have been making a pretty good living as artists. They have been receiving up to $50.00 a painting depending on whether or not the paintings are framed. Apparently they have become bored with painting and lately have refused to practice their talents. At least that is how the story goes. Maybe these baboons are really on strike for higher wages. There is still a language gap between them and their agents so there undoubtedly is a difficulty in communications. A baboon may look bored when he is really disgusted. Fifty dollars really isn’t that much when you think of the baboon-hours involved, the special talent needed, and the probability that a zoo does not have the best working conditions. I doubt if there is a window facing north in the part of the zoo where the baboons work. Most artists seem to prefer a north light for some reason.
I certainly hope these baboons receive a proper reward for their creativities. I hope they will soon return to the business of applying paint to canvasses. Someday I may be in a position to buy one of their masterpieces. A genuine original may be worth a fortune in years to come, not to mention the beauty it would add to a wall in the home. I understand that more and more home decorators are insisting that bathroom walls should no longer remain bare. After all one does spend some time in the bathroom and one’s guests usually visit this humble but important hideaway. Unobservant guests may ignore the beautiful paintings in the living and dining rooms but I am sure they would notice a baboon-original hung in a prominent place in the bathroom.
Darwin’s theory has long been controversial. People have denounced it as being demeaning and blasphemous. If apes could read I wonder what they would think of it. That their ultimate destiny was to shed their fur coats, wear uncomfortable clothing and shoes, and work hard at dull jobs 8 hours a day, forty hours a week, may not seem exciting to them. That their children’s children may someday invent a bigger and better bomb may not exactly turn them on.
Anthropologists have spent a lot of time looking for the missing link. Apparently there is a large gap in physical appearance between the smartest ape and the dumbest people. They believe that there must have been a civilization of half-naked apes. They do not believe we shed our fur coats and grew longer noses overnight.
Paul Harvey, a radio commentator back in the Fifties had us excited one night. He used to analyse the news every evening at six. At the end of one of his monologues he made this startling proclamation. “Scientists have at last found the missing link between apes and civilized man,” he announced in his deep booming baritone. After a dramatic pause which had us all on the edge of our sofas, he added “It’s us!”