Monday, March 7, 2016

jerry the human and spot the dog, part 4

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

as we previously mentioned, jerry was descended from many other humans.

how many, he couldn't say. determining exactly how many was difficult. few humans cared to investigate the subject, or found it interesting.

at first glance, the math was easy. each person had two parents, therefore four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great great grandparents, etc. so by this math every person is descended from about 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 persons after sixty generations.

this is obviously untrue as there have never been so many people.

in jerry's time he could have gone to a library and found books which would have told him that therefore every person alive in his day was descended from every person alive sixty generations (twenty centuries) ago. but obviously this can not be true either. they might be related to every person alive then, but they can't be descended from them all because many people live and die with no descendants.

and many others leave descendants but their "line" dies out when their descendants leave none. and the "line", once broken, is never picked up. and nobody can be descended from a person who has no descendants.

because it is possible. though unlikely, that one person could be descended from another after sixty generations but only inherit 1/1,500,000,000,000,000,000th of their "genes".

there must have been a lot of people at the time of john the baptist or nero who are the “ancestors” of an awful lot of people walking the earth today. or - maybe there are only a few of them.

and what about pockets of “primitive” people who hardly had any contact with the “outside world” until the 19th or 20th century?

take anybody alive today - might there have been only about ten or twenty people at the time of the pharaohs that they are descended from?

and here is something else - everybody has a string of male descendants - father’s father’s father’s etc - and female descendants - mother’s mother’s mother’s mother - going all the way back to before “homo sapiens”.

think about it! somewhere in the world (africa?) in the year 3,000,000 b c there was a sort of human who was your father’s father’s father…. and a sort of human female who was your mother’s mother’s mother… did they meet? did they mate? if there was just one little tribe or just a few tribes raiding and fighting each other, maybe they did…

jerry would get to thinking about these things and forget where he was.

“why are you sitting in the dark, jerry?” his grandmother asked him when she got home from work. she had a big brown bag of groceries in her arms.

“oh — uh — i guess i kind of dozed off.” jerry mumbled.

“your eyes were wide open,” his grandmother, whose name was pearl, said as she took her coat off. “you must have been thinking about something.”

jerry started to explain to pearl what he had been thinking about.

“why do you think about stuff like that?” she interrupted him after he went on for about minute and a half.

“it just interests me.”

“you shouldn’t be interested in stuff, it’s a waste of time. you should do stuff, that way you make can money and support yourself,” pearl told jerry, in a kindly voice.

pearl picked up the bag of groceries and headed for the kitchen. “come on, help me make dinner. i got some nice potatoes on sale, you can peel some.”

jerry got up and followed pearl into the kitchen.

“i hope you like potatoes because we are going to be eating these for at least a week,” said pearl.

“that’s all right, i am used to potatoes,” jerry told her.


meanwhile, back at the animal shelter, spot was alone with his thoughts, after a meager dinner of very dry dog food and a little water.

contrary to jerry’s theories, spot knew very well why he had been put in the shelter and had some very definite views on the subject.

spot knew other things, too. things of which jerry, and the rest of the human race, did not dare to dream.

to be continued