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THE VULGARIAN

    Once a vulgarian decided not to crawl up on dry land.
    It was fully aware that a pivotal moment in evolution might have arrived. It realized how the future of the planet could very well hang on its deci¬sion to leave the swamp for good and fill its lungs with the air of a new world. Still, why put itself to the effort, the vulgarian wanted to know? Why abandon what were the known comforts of the mud for an uncer¬tain life on higher ground? 
    Was there even any need to? In the long run, what difference did it make whether you were in the vanguard of biodevelopment or some¬where at the rear? Nobody was keeping score on the rise and fall of life forms. Who remembered the trilobite or Homo erectus today? More to the point, who cared? 
    And just what was wrong with vul¬garian existence in its present state, anyhow? Hard to top those yearly vacation trips to Vegas, where you could be sere¬naded by your favorite crooner or thrill to the idea that the Elvis impersonator at the next slot machine just might be a mafia hit man the Feds had asked for help in nabbing months ago on a “Most Wanted” episode? Was that something to tell folks back home, or what? Better than your cousin’s latest alien abduction story for sure.
    Did vulgarians lack for creature comforts, that they should feel unfulfilled by the status quo? From the mall to Park Avenue, what couldn’t they buy? From “burgers bigger than your head” to this year’s diet craze, what couldn’t they eat? From soap operas to best-seller con¬fessions, what wouldn’t help them kill an idle hour? From hot tubs to Hummers, was there anything that wouldn’t give a renewed lift, if one was ever needed, to their sense that all was right with their world? 
    The vulgarian had heard the standard claims that something of more substance was on offer beyond the life it found so comfortable, but it took those claims “with a grain of salt,” as it liked to say. So long as it had the inalienable right to do whatever it pleased whenever and wher¬ever it pleased, what other civil benefits or guarantees mattered? You could already watch any¬thing you wanted on the Internet, from porn by the jigglebyte to the lat¬est beheading, and maybe bid on a rep¬lica of Washing¬ton’s false teeth or vote for the most patriotic brewski at the same time. There might be something else worth defending to the death on the other side of the evolutionary dividing line, but all politicians were liars anyways, weren’t they, so why waste the time to find out?
    The vulgarian had weightier reasons as well for hesitating, though, rea¬sons of a spiritual dimension. Who’d willingly give up drive-in churches and evangelical theme parks with cartoon “fried-again veggies” for the kids and talk¬ing crosses for adults in exchange for Holy Communion Hollywood Style, featuring two hours of the body and blood of the Savior all over the big screen? Not to be cynical about it, but where was the spiritual advance in that, the vulgarian asked?
    And what made all those who urged it to view the future as a con¬tinu¬ous timeline of development towards a better life think they knew what they were talking about anyways? Couldn’t the whole of vulgarian existence be seen not as a stage in a long upward evolution but as the high point of it already? What other life form had been half so successful in exploiting its environment? Vul¬garians already knew plenty well what it took not just to survive but to thrive and multi¬ply. 
    “So, why should I ever leave this ooze?” the vulgarian declared, up to its eyeballs in the stuff. “Gill-breathin’s just fine by me, thank you.”