Story Time: Animal Sperm


Stories are ways of playing in our behavior sandbox.  This one’s risque, but based on natural fact.  Humans are built to have sex for fun.  Most humans.

They always get their egg.


Two men sat at the bar, very late.  They’re strangers, but Carol, the friendly young bartender chatted with them and served them the same drink on the house.  So they talk.

Alan was an older doctor, with insane work hours.  His much younger second wife must have missed him terribly, because he’d discovered her in bed with two other men.

Ben was younger, rugged, larger, and reluctant.  Alan insisted, looking for anything amusing, refusing to believe that Ben’s story was sadder than his.

Ben glanced at the bartender.  She smiled back from the other end of the bar.  “I have to move again,” he said sadly, “because of her.”

“I knew you knew her.  Girlfriend?”

“No, and I don’t know her,” said Ben.  “I only see her here, for months.  But I know women, and she wants to take me home tonight.”

“Why is that a bad thing?”

“Because I want to go with her.  I haven’t been with a woman since the last city.  Months.”

“That’s crazy.  Why should you have to move?”

“I know it’s crazy, but it’s the way it is.  Look, I’m not smart like you.  I get a grunt job where I can make a half-decent living and settle in.  Eventually I need a woman, I just do.  I find one, or she finds me, we hit it off, and we end up in bed.”

“Still not a problem.”

“She gets pregnant.  Carol will get pregnant tonight.”

“Now you’re crazy.”

“Maybe.” Ben downed his whiskey.  “But it happens every time.  Seems most animals have sperm that works, first time, every time.  People don’t, so they can have sex a lot.  I got animal sperm.”

“What about contraceptives, birth control, diaphragms, off-period?”

“Doesn’t matter.  My sperm even figures out how to break through a condom.”


“Done twice already.  Somehow the tubes fix themselves.  Doc wanted to write it up but I bugged out.”

“Pulling out?”

“Can’t do it fast enough.  Somehow the sperm knows.”

Alan sipped, thinking.  Carol chatted them up, poured Ben another, stroked his hand, and went to work the other side.  Alan looked up at Ben.

“Have you thought about going gay?  I mean, it’s kind of fashionable nowadays.”

“Yeah, thought about it, but not my style.  No, I love women, but I can’t have em.  I go as long as I can and then, wham, bam, here’s your baby ma’am, moving on.”

Alan slapped down a c-note, told Ben the drinking was on him, and that he appreciated the story.  He left, found a hotel room, and slept well.

He kept visiting that bar for several months afterwards, and Carol did indeed get larger in the tummy.  He never saw Ben again.



Behavior Can Be The Pits

Behavior is everything we do.

Some behaviors are big.  Think global warming, or the fashion industry.

Some are small.  Mustard recipes through the ages.

Some are positively tiny, but they are still behaviors.

Like underarms.

We worry about our smells, we worry about how they look, we worry.

Why?  No idea.

Whatever the reason, I’ve been persuaded to use deodorant.


Why can't they behave properly?

Here’s the problem.  I also like black shirts.  I have lots of great black pullover shirts, T shirts, polo shirts, that sort of thing.

Know what happens if you put on white deodorant and then a black shirt?  You get all these funny white lines on the shirt!  Ouch.

So here’s my solution.  How about a black sharpie?  Paint the deodorant black, and it’ll match my shirt!

Of course, there’s the problem of having black lines under my arms, but there’s always a trade-off somewhere.

I think this may need a little bit more thought.  My wife can’t stop laughing.

Subjects to Think About

Ever wonder how simple we’d have to make things if we met a truly alien civilization?

After all, nothing would serve as a common reference.  The whole concept of “subject” or even “study” could be foreign to them.

So, if I had to tell a truly alien culture about our own, how would I divide up all the crazy areas of study that are in the course guides of colleges?

I’d do it like this.

There are three great areas that humans enjoy learning about.

The first deals with thinking about “Things.”  Things can be anything, like rocks, planets, stars, minerals, chemicals, frogs.  Anything that is a thing all gets put into one great bucket of study.  We typically call the king of these types of studies, Physics.  But frogs and other living things present a problem, so I’ll accept Biology as a special subset of Physics.

Then there are entire areas of learning in which humans think about “Not Things.”  It sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but the greatest of all Not-Things is the study of Math.  Mathematics is a form of incredible rigorous thinking that is the best of all ways to describe the universe of Things.  It has many subsets, but Math is certainly the grandest of them all.  Other areas like linguistics and anthropology could be in there as well.

As promised, there is one final area of learning that concerns humans.  It’s not very rigorous in any way, so much of the work in this area is confusing to everyone, especially the experts.  It’s thinking about Thinking.  Yes, it’s the one and only self-referential area of study, and the king of this type of study is called Philosophy.

Anyone who tries to impress you (or the aliens) with fancy philosophy names or terms is missing the point of this entire area of study.  If it’s a real area, something that is legitimate, then famous people or crazy definitions aren’t necessary.  Much like saying gravity is everywhere, or 1 + 1 can become 2, we should be able to state fundamental elements of Philosophy.  We’re not quite there yet.

My fear is that when we do meet those aliens, and we do tell them what we study, they are going to laugh and go back to where they came from.

After all, if the entire universe can be boiled down into three basic areas of study, and we only have a partial hold on two of them, how can we be ready to join the galactic neighborhood?

We should think about that.




Story Time: Small Wives Tales


Studying behavior is fun.  We can do thought experiments based on real-life observations of fact.

and a short story.

Consider this fact: women are smaller than men.  This is sexual dimorphism, the genders are splitting apart.  Most species have males and females about the same size.  When they are different, it means something’s going on.  Something having to do with natural selection.  Here’s a thought experiment story that takes the phenomenon to the extreme.

=====  A booth in a shabby diner, late morning.  =====

Yo, Joh, why so late?

The third wife was upset, and the other two said I had to help calm her down.  She’s got some bug up her butt about the kid, so I had to listen to her whine before I could leave.

You’re such a nice hubby.  Why don’t you get another one?

Are you kidding?  Three’s the limit for me.  What about you, you stopping at two?

No, I could use a third one.  Having two means they fight among themselves, and I have to break it up all the time.  I hear having a third, and maybe even a fourth keeps them mixed up enough so it takes a lot of pressure off.

You’re both crazy.  Why not just stick with the one and train her the way you want?

Like in the olden times?  What are you, a Neanderthal?  You know how many of those marriages went bust?  No, what those biologists figured out was perfect.  This way each wife has less of a man to make her crazy, she has more women friends to hang with keeping the pressure off him, and he ends up with more sex, while each of them ends up with less.  Win win win win win.

Still, I’m pretty happy with my one.  She’s got everything I need, and we seem to work well together.

Sure, youngster, keep telling yourself that.  It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper, isn’t it?  But it takes all types.

Why do you think women were smaller than men anyway?  There was a time they were only 10% smaller, now they are 25% smaller.

Perfect for carrying under your arm.

Or stuffing in your pants!  (Everyone laughs.)

Look, a long time ago the women were almost the same as men.  About the same size, about the same brain, small breasts, just as hairy.

Then something changed.

Yeah, we don’t know what.  Some eggheads think it was the women that did it to themselves, but maybe the men did it.  Anyway, the women got smaller, got boobs, and started painting themselves all over.

Don’t forget the sex part.

Right, then something happened to both genders so that having sex hardly ever makes a baby.  So it’s fun to do.

Very fun.

How much fun you having with the one?


I thought so.

C’mon.  After breakfast, we’ll do some shopping for you.  Then we’ll fix that ancient Camaro of yours.

Thanks.  So how about that game last night?

Great Moments in Biology

We took a pleasant walk through our park, and at the worst possible time my nose required tending.

I’m used to this, because my nose is old, and large, and needs a lot of maintenance.  I keep a box of tissues in every room of the house.  Truly.  In some rooms there are more than one.  My nose can demand attention so fast I have about two seconds to respond.  And being my nemesis (my NOSE-asis?) it usually demands attention when I have both hands carrying something important, something cooking, and someone talking to me.

Technically, a complex polysaccharide.

Back to the stroll.  As I’m fumbling about for the tissues I carry SOMEWHERE on my person, I realize that perhaps I’m much maligning my nose.

After all, the slime my nose produces is a rather old biological invention.  Fish couldn’t swim without it.  (What about aquaman?)  Bacteria couldn’t thrive without it,  Our lungs stay clean because of it.

In fact, as I pondered my spent tissue, slime may be among some of the greatest biological inventions of all time.

Sure, you have sex, and bilateral symmetry.  But slime?  So simple, yet so many uses.

Here’s a bit of a mind-bender.  Since our ancient ancestors were fishy things, and those fishy things probably also used slime, it may be that our lungs and noses represent the parts of our biology that are still fishy!  (Just like eyeballs, but that’s another story.)

True, it may also be the buggy part of our biology, but I’d rather be related to a fish than a bug.

That’s all for today.  Gotta go fast.  Nose calls.