alea iacta esto

Embarrassing Hellos

Oh, what a frightful embarrassment that moment you realise that the “Hello” you just hello-ed back wasn’t meant for you but for the person behind you. And there you were thinking Gosh such a good-looking person is accosting me on the street, Lord what a lucky so-and-so I am. Obviously you couldn’t see behind you the good-looking friend of the good-looking accoster since evolution hadn’t thought it necessary to put eyes in the backs of our heads. Two eyes in front are good but, at least, one more at the back could save us a lot of bright florid blushes.

I like to think of evolution as beyond God. You see, according to the Holy Books, God made us in His own image so I presume naturally that God has two eyes, both facing forward. I’m not exactly sure why God would need eyes at all since He knows everything everywhere at every instant and eyes are for those who need to see what’s going on in front and perhaps a bit to the sides. Perhaps a modern St Aquinas can help us here. But for humans, having only front facing eyes leaves us with a number of problems that we don’t need and that evolution could have helped with.

For instance without eyes at the back of our heads we can’t see if someone is  approaching our head from behind with a machete in hand. It is a well known phenomenon that a head meeting a machete disadvantages only one of the combatants and it’s always the same one.

Another difficulty, though one less fatal, is that we can’t tell who’s sniggering behind our backs. We all know how it is with our fellow humans, some of us do it too, who hail Welcome to ‘friends’ and ‘comrades’ and can’t wait to plunge into an animated debate over the price of bread or oil or the cost of sending children to school or about the new war in the Middle East. But as soon as you turn your back the flock of previously rounded noses behind you assume the shapes of wrinkly mushrooms, eyes are rolling around like balls on lottery night and mouths start salivating with gossip. How many of our young people have been driven to suicide by not being able to see the sniggering rascals and at least have the opportunity to tell friends from frenemies?

The other vexing issue is that if you know that a really good looking woman (or man) is walking right behind you and they previously caught your eye (and not necessarily the other way round) you won’t know if they are admiring your ass or simply casting around for a good price in the sale windows or enjoying the flowers in someone’s front porch. You could spend a lot of wasted time and energy swaying your hips in the most embarrassing and suggestive fashion.

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