Lee Pitts: What’ll you have? | TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: What’ll you have?

Did you read where scientists have been successful in implanting human genes into cows? This is no joke. It seems that scientists wanted to make cow’s milk more like human milk so that soccer moms will never have to be inconvenienced to nurse their young. Human genes have subsequently been implanted into 300 Holstein cows in China with the idea, I’m sure, of exporting mother’s milk back to the U.S. so that in the future American kids will be weaned on Chinese milk.

Is there any part of our society that we’re unwilling to hand over to the Chinese?

I wonder, what other admirable traits do people possess that we’d like to see in cows? My first reaction is “none.” Which doesn’t speak too well for our human race. I suppose we could implant the gene that makes everyone go to Starbucks every morning which would result in cows that would gather themselves. Or we could implant the Oprah gene which would make feedlot steers gain faster.

Considering the current human condition, I think a better question would be, “What cow traits can we implant in humans that would make us better people?”

I can think of several. To save time and worry over what to serve for dinner every night we could implant the gene that makes cows happy just to eat the same old thing day in and day out. And whenever I say something embarrassing, which is pretty much whenever I open my mouth, I’d sure like to have the trait that cows possess that allows them not to put their foot in their mouth. Or hoof, as the case may be.

Why limit all this genetic reengineering just to cows, after all, other animals have admirable qualities that humans could use. Who wouldn’t want the work ethic of ants, the eternal optimism of pigs, the swimming ability of dolphins, or the ability to fly like an eagle? Just think, with flying-eagle genes you’d never have to sit in the middle seat or be manhandled by airport security personnel ever again.

Just imagine being able to jump 350 times your body length like a flea (Olympics here I come), live nine more days after your head has been cut off like a cockroach, taste your food with your feet like the butterfly, fight like a bear, lick your back when it itches like a cat, dig in the dirt with your nose like a Duroc, and mate fifty times per day like some lions do. Did you known that ants can lift 50 times and pull 30 times their body weight? And they always fall over on their right side when they’re drunk!

Who wouldn’t want to have those genes? Animals rarely kill their own kind and wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all had their peace gene?

Boy, this genetic engineering stuff sure is fun! I can foresee a day when parents will design their own kid before it’s conceived. They’ll pick out the shape of its nose, the size of its feet and the color of its hair from a catalog. Jennifer Anniston will have a second career selling her genes to anyone who wants a prettier baby. And when you come from a long line of ugly people like I do and are presented with the opportunity to genetically engineer that ugliness away, well, who wouldn’t want to do that?

In the future we might order up a child like we do a fast food hamburger: “Give me a kid with the eyes of an eagle, the mind of a Border Collie and the body fat of a stalk of celery. And hold the mayo please.” I’m sure it would be expensive at first but just like with computers and calculators, the more we all did it the cheaper it would be.

As with anything this complicated, I suppose there could be occasional mistakes. You could end up with a human with all the compassion of a grizzly bear, the udder of a Holstein, the gestation period of an elephant, the morals of a pig, the social skills of a porcupine, the nose of a dill pickle and the brains of a sea snail.

On second thought, maybe this explains some of the creatures stalking the halls of Congress these days.


Lee Pitts