original art by Edd Cartier
Greetings, esteemed rhyparographer,
may your polyps explode with fecund alacrity.
Greetings to you, Kelvenor, may your
polyps explode with fecund alacrity as well.
You have come to brief me on the species
known as “humans”, is that not correct?
Yes, extreme nannicock. You will be meeting
their delegation in a few tidal cycles, so we thought
it best you have some understanding of them.
Very well. Give me the briefing. Briefly.
Yes, palpitating nihilarian.
To begin with, humans breathe oxygen
– a trait they share in common with us.
Good, good. I hate holding my breath
when dealing with methane users.
They come, however, from a planet with far greater
gravitational pull than our own, almost 100% more.
How can this be? Any planet much larger than ours
develops far too thick an atmosphere and becomes
an inhospitable hot house of gases.
Yes, venerated sermocinatrix, just as any planet
significantly smaller than us is too small to retain
enough of an atmosphere to support advanced multi-cellular life.
The humans, however, come from a planet with
a large, closely orbiting moon; so large, in fact,
they almost qualify as a double planet system.
This large moon strips much of their atmosphere away,
giving them a surface pressure not much denser than our own.
Hmmm, very well. Proceed.
Thank you, elongated entermeter. Because of their higher gravity,
humans are significantly smaller than us, but much more compact
and densely fleshed. They are extremely strong and by our standards
their reflexes are incredibly quick; this is because of their unique
evolutionary background as both predators and arboreal animals.
Predator ancestors, eh? My upper nostrils quiver with anxiety.
I hate dealing with predators, no matter how evolved they might be.
I trust the humans will not attempt to consume me?
Probably not, benevolent bematist,
but they do consume ethanol for amusement.
Yes, profound polyhistor. I know it’s a deadly poison but…
If I didn’t know you better, Kelvenor,
I might think you were jiggling my tendrils.
Never, gyroscopic gradgrind.
Hmmm, very well. Allow me time to digest this.
Anything further about humans that might be of use to me?
Well…there is one thing, but I don’t know if it’s worthy of mention.
The humans, great pontificator, use organs similar to our own
optical sensors that they commonly refer to as “eyes” in order
to use visible light to examine their surroundings.
Yes, yes, get on with it. I haven’t got all nychthemeron.
Well, unlike our species, in which our eight optical organs
are spaced evenly around our coxal extremities, humans
have only two eyes, and they both face directly forward
from their upper pseudopod.
How can they possibly see all the way around themselves?
Puts them at a decided disadvantage, doesn’t it?
One would think, wouldn’t one?
Yet they compensate for their lack of circular vision
with a substitute they refer to as “depth perception.”
Anybody can look at something
and see if it’s deep or not.
Well, yes and no, torpid tripotage. Before the discovery of
triangulation, our species could look at an object and guess
if it was near or far based on the quality of the image we saw:
Was it larger or smaller than a similar object whose distance we
knew, was the color sharper or fainter, the details clearer or lost?
When great Zabono published his/her/its theorem that proved
if one knew the size of a distant object and one took two visual
measurements from two separate points –
– and if one knew the distance between those two points one could
then calculate the actual distance of the object in question, yes, yes,
I know that. Every third year crèche inductee knows that.
Get on with your briefing.
My point, undulating ugsomeness, is that humans don’t
need to calculate the distance. They can simply look at
something and see the distance between it and them,
and they call this “depth perception”.
Anybody can look at something and see it is distant from them!!!
Yes, hovering heimganger, but the humans do something
different than simply see the distance. They see — and there’s
no way to describe this other than using their term — the depth
between the object and them.
How is this any different from you or I or your fecund spawner
looking at something and saying, “I am here and it is there”?!?!?
Thunderous tractatrix, the humans see exactly the same thing
you or I or my spawner would see, but they also see the distance
between us and the object, and this distance that they see is called “depth”.
You’re starting to grind my mucus glands, Kelvenor.
What does this fecund “depth” as you call it look like?
That’s just it, opulent rhinarium. I asked,
and it doesn’t “look” like anything.
It’s invisible? No shape, no form, no color?
None. It’s just…there…and the humans can see it
and instantly know how distant something is.
So they’re just good guessers.
Parenthetical paraclete, my apologies for being contradictory, but no.
They actually see…something. From what they describe the two eyes
on their upper pseudopod do not see two separate fields of vision
the way our eight ocular organs see eight separate fields of vision,
but rather the two eyes overlap into something they call “binocular vision”
and this is what enables them to see “depth”.
Why would evolution allow any creature to develop
two eyes that share one single field of view?!?!?
That makes no fecund sense!
I agree, ovulating nomothete, and yet…there it is. The humans are
capable of seeing something that is invisible to all other species,
something that cannot be demonstrated to any other intelligent life
yet is intrinsic to their own, something that cannot be duplicated or quantified.
They can look at an object — or two or three or hundreds of objects – and
see instantly that each is on a different spatial plane from the other.
If they are floating in space with no point of reference, they can still
look at an object and see the depth between it and them.
Know what I think, Kelvenor?
I shudder to ask, encyclopedic eminence.
I think you are out of your fecund mind.
And you want to know why I think you are out of your fecund mind?
Because if you weren’t out of your fecund mind, I’d think you were trying
to yank my fecund uterosacral ligament, and you know what happens to
presumptive underlings who yank my uterosacral ligament?
The excretion chamber, if I recall correctly.
Permanent personal hygiene patrol.
Precisely! Now, it’s clear to me these humans have bumfuzzled you,
probably got a big vestibular gland jiggle out of putting one across
the impressionable young polymorph. This “depth” you talk about
clearly does not exist, cannot exist! An invisible “something” that
exists between all objects but only humans can see it — nonsense!
Know what I call it? Distance!
A thousand and one apologies, magnificent musophobist,
but humans know and recognize distance. If they were to lose
the use of one of their eyes, they would lose the ability
to see “depth” and could only see distance the way we do.
I’ll tell you what they saw, you simple minded fecund dolt!
They saw you coming and realized they could put one past you
and so hoped they could put one past me and by extension our
entire hive-cluster! Well, they’ve got another digestive reaction
coming! They may be able to fool you but they’ll never fool me.
“Depth” indeed! A myth! A lie! An utter falsehood!
…and yet, they say they see it…
© Buzz Dixon