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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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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