Animals are getting smarter, which worries me (The Funny Side)

Some lost dogs can traverse mountains and cross continents to find their way home, but mine can’t find a lump of meat she’s sitting on.

And then I check my email and read a report about animal intelligence.

A wild monkey in India got into a truck, used the ignition key to turn it on, and managed to put it in gear, driving across a stockyard, the media reported.

This makes it considerably more intelligent than the humans I once tried to teach to drive. Me: “Turn left.” Learner: “Which way’s left? No, don’t tell me, I can Google it.”

Clearly this Indian monkey is proof of evolution. I wonder if I can persuade it to swap jobs with the guy who drove the bus I took home one night last week. He flew over bumps so fast that we passengers spent much of the ride in mid-air, like Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity”, except for the final few seconds, when we were all pinned to the ceiling.

The only comfort was a fellow passenger’s comment that Justin Bieber, Angelina Jolie and Katy Perry have reportedly paid $200,000 to experience zero gravity in a Virgin Galactic spaceship due to be launched later this year, while we get the same thing regularly for small change. Actually, I would pay that much to send Mr. Bieber into space, as long as it was a one-way ticket.

Animals are getting smarter. A turkey recently thrice broke out of a high security turkey farm in the UK, I read in a news link sent to me by reader Aalia Shan. The bird has been named Houdini and turkey-farmer Geoff Mellin took it off death row, telling a local reporter that it was no coincidence that Houdini’s escapes happened during peak turkey consumption time. “He obviously knew what was going to happen,” he said.

And remember that guy in Taiwan who got his talking mynah bird to say nasty things about his neighbor? Every time Wang Han-chin went to work, a voice shrieked out after him: “You clueless, big-mouthed idiot.” Wang tried to take out a lawsuit but prosecutors said there was legal no way to charge “lower forms of life” with slander. (Thought: Can nationalist politicians use this defence?)

My plan for world peace is to get a flock of talking mynah birds and teach them to say three things. 1) “Help, I’ve been turned into a mynah bird.” 2) “You are the chosen one who has to find a way to reverse the spell.” 3) “Hurry up, idiot.” Then I will release them into the world’s trouble zones to distract people from fighting. Worth a try, right?

A colleague says blue parakeets have the biggest vocabularies, and “a famous one called Puck knew 1,728 words”. This is definitely more than some humans I know, who get through their lives with a dozen utterances, most of which are just grunts.

Now my stupid dog is in a bad mood because she thinks I have hidden the piece of meat she is still sitting on. And talking of snacks, where did I put my chocolate bar? Uh-oh.

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)

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