Sunday, January 4, 2009

Evolution: The Sexual Experiences of a Cell

My brain felt like it was going to pop out of my head. But, upon further reflection (which would also be impossible) I realized that I was a very lonely member of the genus and species Escherichia coli. I was floating around, somewhere off the coast of Zanzibar (don’t you love that name? I’ve always thought I’d like to name my first clone “Zanzibar.”) when I came upon a lung fish. Now, this fish was no ordinary fish. Even those amongst us one-celled organisms who do not even react to chemical changes in their environment know that lung fish used to be considered extinct. And here was this thing with rudimentary legs trying to hang on to its aquatic existence. Duh! Should have gotten out of this soup about 100 million years ago. Actually, I think the damned fish was showing off. What makes a fish hang on, so long, to what is quite obviously NOT it’s destiny?
I kind of waved my cilia and moved in closer to this obviously fucked up animal. “Wassup?” I oozed. The fish didn’t seem to notice. Hey, move in closer, here…have you ever noticed how blank the eyes of fish are? It’s like they just never see nothin’ or hear a thing you say. It’s kind of irritating, on the cellular level. I was trying to make some small talk with this ignorant piece of flesh. After all, it doesn’t take much for me to end up in, say, New York Harbor. Life just sort of whisks by me, or me by it. So, I try to learn something from every organism I meet. Obviously nothing was going on in this interchange. I moved on.
So, no shit, there I was. I was just drifting along, watching phytoplankton fucking around in the water, when I felt this gentle nudge along my cellular wall. Boom! I couldn’t control it! My pilus shot out of me like a fucking spear and half of my genetic insides spilled into this incredibly beautiful E. coli cell next to me! Like I said, my brain (what there is of it) felt like it was going to pop out of my head! And, as I watched in amazement, she floated away, splitting into something that would, someday, look like a fucking fish!

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