The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

February/March 2007 Humor Writing Contest Winner
Best Short Humor!

The Development of Agriculture


Scott Erickson

Many history books erroneously report that, before the development of agriculture, life for humanity was "nasty, brutish, and short." This rumor was started by James L. Morgan, entrepreneur and early industrialist, as a slogan to sell more tractors. In truth, pre–agricultural humanity generally had it pretty good, spending only a few hours per day to provide themselves with life's essentials. They spent the remainder of their time waiting for somebody to invent television. They greatly anticipated this, because they knew that for the first season there would be no re–runs.

Agriculture was first attempted 10,000 years ago by the Ugawooga, a very stupid tribe that lived on the shore of Hudson Bay, in the present–day Northwest Territories of extreme northern Canada. Tribal leader Og–aluk had a really inappropriate ethical vision, and declared, "For as long as the sun shines the Ugawooga shall not eat anything that had a mother." Abandoning their traditional diet of seal, caribou, and fish, they vowed to eat only what they could grow. Of course, since winter in that location was 11 months long, and permafrost cannot support the growth of grains and vegetables, and grains and vegetables had not yet been developed, the Ugawooga (now extinct, of course) hold a well–deserved place in human history as the most stupid people of all time.

The first successful use of agriculture was developed by the Malog culture in what is now Ethiopia. For thousands of years, the Malog – like most Paleolithic cultures – had subsisted via a semi–nomadic, hunting–and–gathering lifestyle, traveling to specific locations at the times of year that food was most readily available. In springtime they began a hazardous journey to the Nile River to swim in piranha–infested waters to snatch alligator eggs from the wombs of pregnant alligators. Then, the survivors embarked on an epic climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, highest peak on the African content, in order to harvest the bean–like Wahana nut, before returning to the lowlands to hunt birds on Thursday.

After hundreds of generations of this traditional lifestyle, exhausted tribal elders thought it over and decided, "Heck with this. Let's plant a garden."

This allowed the Malog culture to end their nomadic ways and stay put long enough to invent the first primitive television. This consisted of a tent–like structure made of animal skins, with a large "window" through which the tribe could watch other members of the tribe inside as they enacted primitive sitcoms, such as Everybody Loves Uwagga.

The growing popularity of vegetable gardening led to a huge demand for somebody to invent vegetables. The first vegetable was developed by Ikra–ulur, who was the host of the Malog's first late–night television interview program, The Tonight Show with Ikra–ulur. This first vegetable was okra, which the tribe sampled with high hopes. Subsequently, Ikra–ulur was thrown into a pit of boa constrictors. Enraged tribal members shouted, "Why didn't you develop something good like butternut squash?"

The global race was on for the development of tasty and nutritious vegetables. A primitive and very small green pepper was cultivated by Ikra–ulur's granddaughter Woka–sika, but unfortunately the peppers were mistaken by the villagers to be a variation of okra, and Woka–siki was thrown to a hungry lion.

Corn on the cob made early progress, but stalled until 1937 when Thomas Edison invented the cob. Early attempts at sweet potatoes were made by fertilizing potato plants with sugar. Early gardeners were puzzled at why the sugar did not make the potatoes sweet, and also where did all those ants come from?

The first truly successful vegetable was ketchup. It became even more successful after the development of the tomato, which kept all the stuff inside.

Once mustard was developed, the way was clear for the invention of the soyburger – which was inedible before the invention of spicy condiments that could camouflage the flavor. The development of French Fries was, of course, delayed until the establishment of France. Even so, development was further stymied until the invention of the deep fat fryer, which required the invention of deep fat.

During all this time, agriculture was a filthy, disgusting activity. I mean, vegetables are grown in dirt. And what are they fertilized with? Here's a hint:  It's spelled P–O–O–P. That's "organic" agriculture. Of course, "modern" agriculture uses chemical fertilizers, which has been a great way for industry to get rid of things like used lubricant and surplus contact lens cleaner.

Thankfully, genetic engineering has made great strides in getting us beyond filthy disgusting "dirt" agriculture, as well as beyond frightening toxic "chemical" agriculture. Most vegetable nowadays are actually salmon, engineered into the shape of broccoli and spinach. These salmon have been engineered to feed on lint – natural and organic lint retrieved from clothes dryers – thus creating a sustainable and ecological loop that utilizes a wasted resource to keep us healthy and happy. Because you are what you eat.

©Scott Erickson

Scott Erickson lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is quietly losing his mind. He has a full–time job, although he is not clear about exactly what he does. When he is not doing whatever it is he does at his job, he publishes a humor zine entitled Reality Ranch. He has recently been inspired by the Rose City Rollers – Portland's awesome roller derby team – to take up roller skating, which he loves. He is able to skate backwards.

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