Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Wilkie High School.
Hey Mr. C.,
We were talking in class today about the latest evolution news – that maybe some of our recent ancestors were spending more time than we think up in the trees.
Our substitute biology teacher, Mr. Leakey, really got excited, and he kind of challenged us to think about it, which is what a teacher is supposed to do I guess but it sort of took us by surprise. Our regular teacher, Mr. Scopes, doesn’t even say the word “evolution” in class without looking out in the hallway first to be sure there’s not some parent or someone out there listening. I think he’s nervous about getting complaints. They say a teacher can’t get fired for stuff like that, but some kids think Mr. S has a few fossils hanging in his closet and he just wants to keep a low profile.
But Mr. Leakey was tossing out the “E” word like nobody’s business, and he kind of got me excited about it too. He talked about the shapes of shoulder blades in these old skeletons, and some really key changes that happened when our kin came down out of the trees and stood tall on the savannah, looking out over the tops of the grasses to see predators more easily and freeing up their hands to do stuff like using tools and learning how to deal blackjack.
I mean, I like to climb trees anyway so the thought of coming from tree-swinging relatives is kind of cool. All the Aunts and Uncles I’ve met are pretty boring ground-based life forms. I couldn’t picture any of them on a stepladder, even. Not to mention being up in the canopy, y’know?
But my neighbor Bethany P. thought it was gross to say we came from apes and she said she was going to tell her mom, who is kind of a big wheel in some mega-church out in the suburbs. That was alright with Mr. Leakey. He said “Tell her to swing on down here if she has a problem with it. I’ll tell her what I think and check her over for lice at the same time.”
Bethany got a little ticked off. Mad, I mean. I don’t think she has ticks.
Anyway, Mr. Scopes is back tomorrow and I’m guessing we won’t see Mr. Leakey again. He was too interesting to last very long at Wilkie High, anyway. But he did get me thinking. It’s kind of been a few years since I’ve done this, but now that the leaves have dropped off, I’m going to go out and see how high I can get in that maple tree in front of our house.
I hope Bethany is watching!
Share a tree-climbing memory.