I am Hubris the Great.
At my current job at the BK Lounge – i.e., Burger King – I have received an unwanted promotion from janitor to line-cook, or, as I like to refer to the task, Absorbing Grease Through My Pores in the Name of Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic, or AGTMPINCOE, an acronym, which, if reshuffled, spells GIMPEN TACO. This was because the manager deemed my predecessor’s skin not rich enough in keratin to repel unsaturated hydrocarbons – and so looking at the genetic marvel in his midst, ME, the decision was made that I churn out the slop to be consumed by the animals driving up to the take-out window.
You, my reader, may remember Toc, a fellow BK-ite, whose real name is Larry but on whom I was gracious enough to bestow the more sterling designation of Timolous of Cyzicus. Toc is an amusing character and instructive as a model for the current American. One day, while cheesing up an assembly line of Whoppers, a duty that required a mere one-zillionth of my burgeoning intellect, I observed Toc and took note of his appearance, habits and limited world view. Then I called him over to my station.
“Stand here for a few minutes while I teach.”
“That you, Toc, are the apotheosis of all human endeavor.”
“Are you mocking me?”
“Not at all, my well fed mass consumer friend. Just listen and learn. Man began as homo erectus, meaning he had gotten off all fours and had begun to behold the universe from an upright perspective, to gain a world view, albeit one that involved employing sticks and stones as tools of the hunter-gatherer trade. The addition of gray matter led to homo sapiens, and it was one such fellow – if only we knew his identity – who was the first to look up at the cosmos, and ask, ‘What’s this all about? What does it mean? How did it get here? And who am I? How do I fit into all this?’ Thus began humanity’s slow ascent out of animal ignorance. The pivotal moment came with agriculture ten-thousand years ago. Wheat allowed us to stay in one place and have the leisure for investigation into the nature of things. We didn’t have the scientific tools to figure out the vicissitudes of weather, the seasons and such, so we invented religion, a great product of the human imagination – the same imagination that would someday produce Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
“Love that album,” said Toc.
“Actually, Toc, a little over-rated, since who cares if Paul McCartney woke up, fell out of bed and dragged a comb across his head? Never mind…There followed the engineering feats of the Great Pyramids, the Golden Age of Greece, with Pythagoras and Archimedes advancing practical knowledge while Socrates and Plato asked questions about our existence.”
“Hey Hubris, we need that Original Chicken Sandwich Value Meal, pronto,” shouted a BK apparatchik.
“Silence, you fast-food zealot! The order is imminent…We must hurry, Toc, to complete the lesson…The next two thousand years brought us a philosophical discourse that ran through Lucretius, Aquinas, Maimonides, Kant, Hegel, Sartre. Meanwhile science proved that we orbit the sun and so we humans are not the center of the cosmos. Science determined the chemical elements – the building blocks of matter, both inorganic and organic, us. Technology sailed ships, fired guns, stoked steam engines, sparked electrical grids, split the atom – made television, cable, cell phones, computers, the internet.”
“But didn’t you say that I am the apoth-o-something of something,” said Toc.
“Yes, Toc, what I am saying is that this heroic struggle to advance human knowledge, to create a better world has now peaked to produce you, yes you, Toc, and your ilk. You are the final achievement – that is, an over-weight man (due to ability to process food), a man lacking intellectual curiosity (from being weaned on the teat of mass media, especially shows like Celebrity Apprentice), a man lacking deep emotion (because you do all your communicating through instant messaging and texting), and, last, a man who has no big dreams for humanity (since humanity is all dreamed out and has cataloged past dreams on Wikipedia). In other words, Toc, a guy dressed in a Burger King outfit is the Last Man, the Ubermensch.”