An Educational Experience
My school career started off well enough. In the 1st grade I tested out at the 11th grade level for math comprehension and was being considered for enrollment in the Gifted Program. The school suggested skipping me ahead to the 3rd grade, but my father deemed it more important for me to learn to socialize with children my own age. By the 2nd grade I had grown bored and was spending the majority of my time drawing. At age 10, I was accepted into the University of Washington’s Early Entrance program and the school again suggested I be skipped ahead, this time to the 5th grade, however my father insisted I have a “normal” childhood, “like [he] had”. My grades began to decline, and I became a class clown with a hostile attitude toward authority — especially my Catholic teachers. One conflict that would seem to become a theme for me later in life came from my school’s religious insistence that only humans had souls, meaning therefore that their lives were more important than the lives of other animals — an idea that I was vocally opposed to. Before the end of the 5th grade, my mother decided to pull me out of school and homeschool me, against my father’s wishes.
I. Work with Crows
In the following years, I developed a working relationship with the local Crow population. Though at first we had an antagonistic relationship, as they would fight with the flock of chickens I cared for over food, the philosophy that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” soon prevailed when I began feeding the Crows in exchange for assistance in protecting my flock against mutual threats like chickenhawks, falcons, owls, and eagles. Before long the Crows were even helping to round up the chicks who had strayed outside of their enclosure through the gaps in the chickenwire. It was from the Crows that I gained my ideas of teamwork and cooperation, loyalty and self-sacrifice. From the Crows also I learned of the barbarism of humans, many of whom would murder the innocent, intelligent birds for the pettiest of reasons imaginable, such as that the sound of the Crows communicating with one another would wake the humans too early in the morning, or because the Crows would mess up people’s lawns and gardens in search of food. It was for this reason I was never fully accepted by my avian allies, and how could I blame them? It had become clear to me that while Crows were noble, respectable creatures, humans were a bloodthirsty, sociopathic race of insect-minded yahoos, who, in their unenlightened dither of an excuse for consciousness, egocentrically deemed it their right to murder superior creatures who had done naught to harm them.
II. The Education System
I finished my homeschooling curricula through the 12th grade by age 14, but when at first I enrolled myself in Grays Harbor College at age 16, and though I had already chosen palæontology with a specialty in palæo-yahoology as my future career (for I felt it imperative to learn as much as possible about the origin of the planet’s yahoo infestation), I was nonetheless aggrieved to discover that Biology 101 was titled “Introduction to [Yahoo] Biology”, that the psychology classes available seemed to focus on the yahoo nervous system and the workings of the yahoo mind, and that the sociology classes concerned themselves solely with the study of yahoo interaction. Though this seemed an ideal arrangement for me to achieve my goal of learning as much as possible about the yahoos, I couldn’t help but wonder why these things were not being covered instead under yahoology. Was the yahoos’ delusional sense of self-importance so grotesquely inflated that they felt the need to impose the study of themselves upon the study of everything else? pre-empting and usurping sciences that should rightfully be only tenuously related to them, for their own yahoocentric purposes?
I asked a college counselor if this was done, as I was hoping, to facilitate ease of learning by giving yahoo students something familiar with which to introduce them to the wider field of biology. The counselor’s reply was that this probably had something to do with it, but, more than that, this was a matter of practicality having to do with the college’s expectation that that very few students were “in it for the pure science”. This was difficult to accept for an individual like myself, who from a young age was wont to regard applied science as a sort of intellectual prostitution. Although I eventually came to wrap my mind around the fact that the arrangement of intellectual disciplines in community college was based in utilitarian motives rather than on any sort of objective relativity, I found myself continually confounded with similarly counterintuitive challenges to my non-yahoocentric worldview.
III. The Medical Community & Legal System
I dropped out of school for many years, partly due to chronic health problems that would plague me for the better part of a decade. The disease I was afflicted with was chronic cluster headaches: a condition which reportedly causes pain more intense than unanæsthetized amputation or natural childbirth, and is probably the most severe pain experienceable by humans (Matharu & Goadsby), resulting in adrenaline-sparked bouts of anxiety and associated irrational behaviors such as aggression or even suicide (Robbins). I was constantly in the emergency room. On several occasions, I was scolded by yahoo emergency room doctors for this behavior; I attempted to reason with one such yahoo doctor, early on, in language that any yahoo could understand, saying, “any Fish & Wildlife officer or veterinarian will tell you that wounded animals become irrational”, to which his reply was “the human beings who come in here complaining of [migraines] are in too much pain to move!” Not only did this ignore the fact that the pain caused by cluster headaches is far more intense than anything experienced during a migraine attack, but what did he think yahoos were, if not animals? some mystical, magical færie species from the Quagnar Galaxy? I was thereafter red-flagged and treated as a drug-seeker. Before long I was having the police called on me and one small-town yahoo police chief even accused me of grabbing at him, for which I was severely beaten, almost killed, and now have a felony on my record as a result. For many years, such negative encounters with the yahoo medical and legal communities seemed to be the rule for my life rather than the exception.
Thankfully not all the yahoo doctors, nurses, and police officers I encountered were so ignorant. A few even showed me sympathy. Thus, having encountered a rare few good, noble, or at least well-meaning yahoos, I began to think that there was some faint glimmer of hope for the yahoo race; some good amid all of their various flaws, and wished so strongly to find this hope that after more than a decade of constant turmoil I resolved to continue my education, with a renewed desire to understand the yahoos and to obtain my yahoology degree.
Though I once took a some small iota of pride in being a yahoo, and later grew to passionately despise the yahoo race, the intelligence and kindness of some small number of them replaced my hatred with a naïve hope inspiring pity and in some cases even genuine affection for their kind — for my kind — and I’ve now discovered a new purpose for my life: To locate and attempt to root-out the yahoos’ insecure need to reassure themselves of their own uniqueness, to shatter their delusions of self-importance, and, ultimately, to help save life on Earth from the invasive species by helping the yahoos to discover a more mature, honest, and realistic sense of confidence based not in narcissistic self-aggrandizement, but in a sense of brotherhood and belonging with the rest of this great miracle we call life.
Matharu, Manjit S. & Goadsby, Peter J. “Cluster headache: focus on emerging therapies” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, Vol. 4 Issue 5 (Jan 10, 2014)
Robbins, Matthew S. “The psychiatric comorbidities of cluster headache” Current Pain and Headache Reports. (Feb 2013) DOI: doi:10.1007/s11916-012-0313-8