During the mid-80’s, my father went through a Gary Larson phase. His canvases of choice were our brown lunch bags. One image from high school lunch seared into my memory is that of my friends passing my lunch bag down the long cafeteria table. The cartoon of the day showed the arm and head of a swimmer with a shark fin not far behind. The caption read, “Lunch is a relative experience.” This sort of thing may have explained my place in the high school food chain. Well, it may have been the leftover calamari sandwiches (don’t ask.)
I suspect that few people in modern society give much thought to their place in the food chain. Most likely, the majority see themselves at the top, just above McDonalds or Trader Joes – depending upon their preferred quarry. This view could be a mistake.
One afternoon, I was driven to the conclusion that I had chosen large animal medicine out of an atavistic desire to be higher on the food chain than my patients. Don’t get me wrong, livestock can inflict an awful lot of damage, but most hooved animals don’t typically look at a person as potential lunch. That particular afternoon, I remembered why I don’t like pigs.
Pigs are omnivores. So am I, but I have much smaller teeth. The teeth in question belonged to a 900 lb sow who took a dim view of my intention to stab her with a couple of large needles. As the chunks of ivory gnashed at my ankle, I had a sudden vision of Jurassic Park. You know, the scene in which the T-Rex grabs the guy by the ankle and …gulp. Lunch -- a relative experience.
Now, there may not be a moral to all of this, other than don’t send your kids to school with calamari sandwiches if you wish them to avoid ridicule; however, it might not be a bad idea to give occasional thought to the food chain. After all, the polar bears are moving south.