Shambling simian fortresses with shaggy eyebrows

So that’s it then. Another year down, very nearly. Only a few million to go.

Not that we’ll have to worry. A few more years and we’ll be out of it. It’ll be someone else’s problem.

Assuming, that is, we survive global warming, meteor strikes, genetically engineered foods, US elections and Seinfeld repeats.

Eventually, of course, it will be something else’s problem.

Given that it’s taken only a few thousand years for us to mutate from shambling simian fortresses with shaggy eyebrows and knuckles scraping the ground into, well… us; and given the accelerated rate of change, it seems reasonable to assume that in another few thousand years we’ll resemble something closer to a printed circuit with squishy eyeballs.

In our pockets, probably.

So what’s it all for, I ask myself.

It’s obviously not about saving the world.

When you consider how many forces are at work trying to pull the thing into some kind of acceptable shape environmentally, socially, fiscally, politically and spiritually it’s amazing the world is still round.

It ought to look like a piece of Plasticine the dog chewed. There are some bits that do.

And it’s obviously not about saving people, for the same kind of reasoning.

Which makes you wonder why we bother.

Indeed, if you’re out there campaigning for something, whether it’s the fate of the estuarine whelk of the future of democracy, you’d better hope you never get your way. Because five minutes after your ideal world has been introduced — you wouldn’t recognise it. Some bastard would be off and running with your piece of Plasticine in his mouth and instead of Utopia you’d have Beirut.

But we have to do something, I suppose. I mean, we can’t just hang around the planet like ripe mangoes on a tree, waiting to drop off.

So we work, we play, we drink, we eat, we form pressure groups to combat people who have formed pressure groups to combat other people. The new year turns up and we do it all again.

If this sounds a mite depressing to you, I’m sorry. It doesn’t depress me. It reminds me of my granddad, a small man with twinkly eyes and a sense of humour that could shake monkeys out of trees.

He used to say: there’s a queue outside the cemetery and we’re all in it.

By which I guess he meant that 50,000 years from now no one will care.

This is not such a bad thing. Once upon a time, before there were people, it is reasonable to assume, no one cared. They just did things, like eat their neighbours and fornicate.

But since people turned up…

Ah… yes, er, well…

Happy New Year.