All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Functions as Designed

I passed another tangled iguana carcass on the road today. There he lay, twisted and bloated, flattened in places, tire tracks decorating his thick hide. It got me to thinking how in those moments before his death, that that poor iguana had functioned exactly as he was designed.

His design is among the oldest on our earth. His kind have survived because, although primitive, they are effective. Their design is tried and true. I tried to picture the confidence on his face at the last instant of his life. “I got this,” he thought, as he stared down the barrel of fate, sure that his ancestors throughout the millions of years evolution would protect him. “I have not just prepared for this instant all my life,” he thought, “but for all of existence.”

“Bring it,” he breathed.

And then BAM, it was all over, his spine twisted, the vegetation of his gut splattered this way and that.

What went wrong? He stood his ground. He can’t be chased, because he wasn’t running. That big thing will stop, give me a sniff and then I will whip him with my tail, make a menacing sound and he will leave.  Or perhaps I will climb a tree. But no, this time the big thing did not stop.  The big thing came barreling down with nary a thought of satisfying its belly. In fact, it seemed not to notice me at all.

What do we do when our preparation does not yield the desired results, when it becomes irrelevant, when we function as designed for an environment that no longer exists?


  1. Laura

    Lovely poetic reflection, hon. Can’t help but want to jump in and invite discussion.
    >What do we do ….when we function as designed for an environment that no longer exists?
    – You adapt… as you Mr. Gringoqueño very well know, Mr. I became bilingual at 27 and went on to give technology lectures and tech support in the second language.
    >What do we do when our preparation does not yield the desired results?
    -You can either change what it is that you desire or rethink your tool set.
    >What do we do when our preparation becomes irrelevant?
    – Irrelevance is only relevant to those who can ponder meaning and meaning is socially constructed… so “preparation” if it was meant to gain you social connected-ness is never out of style, if it was meant to only have you work a tool that got outmoded… then it was a poor preparation.
    That poor iguana….

  2. Sigg3

    You are kind of ambiguous about the “we” here. We humans (see comment above) or we iguanas? You are projecting your autonomy on a being that arguably has none.

    Also, comparing evolution with preparation is kind of flawed, as well as happenstance with fate. I’m a nitpicker, I know, but as an academic philosopher my best take on the iguana’s perspective as the car was rushing towards him was more of an “OH SHIT!”


    • Jim

      haha, both, my friend. We are the iguana. The iguana is we.

      We are as much “prepared” as we prepare, product of our environment kinda thing. Iguanas are prepared too, but outdated a bit as they get run over by the car. We have also prepared them in a delicious fricassee criollo sofrito con tomate, but that’s another story.

      Iguana = labor in a post manufacturing society.

      I am the iguana because of the fifty zillion computer technologies that are no longer relevant 🙂

      How’you been? Looks like you have been having fun with the bash game. Nice to see you’ve gone back to the Jurassic. I should join you. Maybe we won’t get hit by a car.

      • Sigg3

        Doing good. Currently writing my MA in political theory, so I’m kind of sick of all the isms people throw around atm, not denying their actual usefulness in writing. But they overshadow and make impenetrable the _actual content_ of the debates.

        Yesterday I read some of Herder’s “Abhandlung Über den Ursprung der Sprache” (1772) and I found that much more satisfying than political liberalists agreeing with each other:P

        Other than that, not much. I’m unemployed, living on student loans and my GF, walking the dog every day and trying to get all my gadgets in order (still haven’t gotten around to changing the default design on ugh!).

        I also am feeling the cold shoulder of being “over-qualified” in the eyes of prospecting employers.. which suggests that I am, at the age of 30, already old news. But I guess I won’t begin to panic until I’ve handed in my thesis and am not eligible for state support any longer:P

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