What if dogs and cats had opposable thumbs? I spent one whole day researching opposable thumbs. No one in my family found this odd. God bless them.
I will begin with the cynical side of having of dogs and cats having opposable thumbs. Would we turn them into serfs and house slaves? With thumbs dogs could vacuum, dust, and mop. Would this be their permanent lot in life? Would their only allowable career be as a Merry Maid?
And what about cats? Would they permanently be cleaning bathrooms now that with thumbs they could hold a sponge? Getting down and scrubbing the tub because their height would be perfect for removing the ring of god-knows-what that every bath tub has. Bathroom mirrors and vanities would prove no problem. Pulling the Windex trigger would pose no trouble with a thumb.
How about laundry? Nobody likes doing the laundry. Just because cats have thumbs and they can fold underpants and t-shirts doesn’t mean they should have to. Or how about the cruelest thing of all— cleaning out the microwave? Would we give them protective eyewear? Would OSHA care? I can see an industrial accident in the making. Would they be protected by a union?
Now in a Panglossian world, the lives of dogs and cats with opposable thumbs would be radically improved—beginning with civil rights. This might take a while, as history has shown, but it is possible. What if the human race recognized the beautiful souls of dogs and cats? What if they had souls capable of writing great literature now that they could hold a pen or use the space bar on a computer?
Or creating lithographs of cans of cat food or paintings of gardens filled with squirrels waiting to be chased. Perhaps Martha Stewart line of 1000 thread count dog beds or a Patagonian line of outerwear.
Dogs would come up with time saving inventions now that they could use power tools that would free humans from banal chores and provide more time for long walks on the beach. Would the Patent Office recognize their applications for these inventions?
What if they could hold political office now that they could shake hands? I’m certain they would eradicate homelessness—human and animals. No dog, cat or human would live a lonely life. They would be social workers and care givers and even therapists as they have long been good listeners with a built in sense of empathy.
They could be financial wizards who believed in profit sharing and fiscal ethics now that they could use an Excel program. Or how about Nascar drivers now that their thumbs allowed them to grip a steering wheel? Have we ever considered why dogs sit in the driver’s seats when forced to sit in the car, except on hot days, because the world does not allow cats or dogs in businesses and restaurants. How would we feel?
They would change discriminatory semantics like “It’s just a dog or cat.” Really, would they ever say “It’s just a human?” Would they ever be that inhumane? Or how about being called a “beast?” clumped in with “beastly” behavior? I know they would put a stop to beast-aphobia. What about the sexism of females dogs being called “bitches?” What about that injustice? Have humans ever thought about how powerful derogatory language can be?
And lastly, bad behavior? Really a dog can’t jump or lick your face? It’s called dog love. After all, don’t we show them that we do that? Do as I say not as I do? I mean those slobbery kisses from relatives and teenagers just learning to kiss, isn’t that the same thing? How messed up is that? Separation anxiety? Peeing inside, don’t we do that?
So here’s to the dogs and cats in our lives. Maybe someday they will have thumbs and shouldn’t we embrace that? Let’s find our better nature.
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