By Larry Meath
(This was an activity in anthropomorphism, giving human characteristics to a non-human object.)
Let’s start with this fact, there are lots of my relatives on planet earth. Twenty quadrillion, give or take, by latest count. Yeah, you heard me right–even though you probably have no idea how many that really is. That’s a 20 followed by 15 zeroes. Or put another way, that’s nearly three million of us for every human on terra firma…or even terra not so firma. There are only roughly 7 billion of you—way too many in my estimation—but humans are a tiny minority compared to us. You are an ant-iclimactic statistic in our view.
According to Dan the man Webster, we are of the family of colonial hymenopterous insects. That’s a mouthful, I know, but basically, we are highly specialized critters. Furthermore, we have a complex social organization and various castes performing special duties. Like ruining picnics and building tunnels. Our ant-ics aren’t always appreciated.
But before you get too ant-sy about our numbers, let me tell you some fun facts about us. You guys have been screwing up the planet for a measly 200,000 years but we’ve been trying to improve things for closer to 2 million. We watched the dinosaurs come and go and we’ll likely do the same with you. You could say we are ant-iques on the planet’s timeline.
And we’re practically everywhere. Ant-arctica is one exception. Clearly the name is a misnomer.
We communicate in sophisticated ways: not with phones but pheromones to be exact. And we have a sort of group think where we act as a collective…one for all and all for one…kind of like a football team. We are the ultimate team players—the ant-ithesis of humanity’s narcissism.
We make up roughly 15-20% of earth’s biomass despite our small size. Thank goodness we don’t taste all that great although I have heard of people who cover us in chocolate to make us palatable. I’m not sure what goes into ant-ipasto, but despite being named Ant-onio, I’d be careful around Italians.
And speaking of eating, some ant species enslave and even eat other ants. Yeesh! Cannibals! They apparently do this without Pepto Bismal or other ant-acids.
But overall, we just want to live in harmony with humanity. Make love, not war. But don’t forget…we can also sting if need be. So, a final word of caution–don’t ant-agonize us.