The Lost Safari: Part 2

by January 18th, 2008 - Science »

previously: The Lost Safari: Part 1

So where does reality finally take hold in this silly imagining. Well…it’s at the point that we stare high into the elephant’s eye.

I truly believe most animals wouldn’t be as overwhelmingly formidable as most people fear. With lions and tigers, and indeed even polar bears, oh my, it should simply be a matter of making a few clever escapes and striking one of the many relative soft spots…repeatedly…probably in a carving manner.

But elephants are a different and far more ugly proposition. First…they are fucking huge and weigh an incredible amount. They are obviously the much more robust land-equivalent of the jellyfish. You may not even be doing battle…they may not even know you are there…but the current of the wind carries them on top of you and your are done. Ideally, my emperor’s-new-clothes should serve as good enough of a distraction that I might tumble my way successfully unto their back…but then what? The few soft spots they have are of such a horrible nature that not even I am comfortable in discussing them here and I do not believe that they would ever lead to any effective death-blow…unless the term death-blow can accurately be attributed to 36 hours of stabbing in the wrong place until, completely by chance the elephant once more is enchanted by the sight of me and walks off a cliff. That is not heroic…I just can’t make it work.

Now, the elephants are just the start of the problem here, friends, because in considering its rough, generally impenetrable hide, it naturally leads to the discussion of rhinos, more threateningly known as rhinoceroses. With comparable protection, more aggressive mobility, strategically placed pointy bits, and the overall effect of making you instantly shit your pants…rhinos almost immediately screw the dream.

But I am emboldened at this point in remembering all those Nintendo bosses that seemed impossible to beat, yet eventually fell. You must find the weak spot. They all have one…otherwise the game would be a fatalistic masterpiece, but would in general suck. I find it’s helpful to check at this point. Pause the game and look it up. And in the Savage Land I would certainly tote a MacBook Air upon my naked person — just really perfect for this situation and I don’t know why Jobs didn’t mention this in his keynote — or, if this fails, I might have to default to using some dumb desktop PC public kiosk they have there…even if it unexpectedly happens to be dial-up…THIS IS WAR DAMN IT! Beggars might very well have no choices at their disposal in this game.

And really, at this point, the trick is simply locking on to your target, the rhino, and strategically strafing from side to side to avoid its lunging attacks, taking pop-shots as you jump over its ground pound, just to let it know you’re enjoying yourself, and strafing again as the dumb beast plows head first into a rock, flips over, and exposes its vulnerable belly that glows red to confirm that it is indeed its weak spot. Lock on to the new target, slash for a while, pick up some health as the creature lumbers back to consciousness, and repeat the process two more times. Claim your power-up, go to the bathroom during the dumb cut scene, and prepare for the next battle.

It doesn’t necessarily follow as a logical progression of animals, but the next creature I consider — and consider impossible — is the hippopotamus, less comically known as the hippo. That thing should be a bit softer than the previously discussed combatants, slightly less aggressive and perhaps doesn’t have all of the weapons that others have, and yet this is where my dream truly ends.

Its like a really big Muppet…a ridiculous assembly of fat dumb parts…but this felt construction will hurt more than you expect…a lot more…should you even have the ability to register the pain before your life is so quickly ended.

Maybe a better means of conveying my thoughts on the matter is to compare it to some silly, early 1950s sci-fi monster…such a monster that is found on some completely uncharted planet, flopping around and appearing cartoonishly benign if not completely, laughably fake…even by 1950s standards.

And so…to give its menace credence, the scientists of the show make up some weird, completely contrived and utterly non-scientific founded explanation as to why it is an enemy that cannot be defeated.

“Our weapons do not work. It’s physics run on an entirely different set of rules whereby we can have no effect on it, but it can gobble us at will. We are but marbles to the damn thing…MARBLES!”

It is a dumber creature than even me…and that is why it wins. I must strive to become dumber for such future confrontations.

Perhaps in a revised dream, I will simply be alone in the middle of the Savage Land…a hidden pocket of untamed life…with nothing…hoping all the creatures are fans and will throw roses as I walk past.

Then again…

I’m Thomas K…and I’m not.

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