A Spoof on Stone Age Living – by Rock O’Fages
Disclaimer: In the world of comedy writing, spoof is a cringe-worthy word on par with yuckfest or laugh-o-rama. I would not be guardedly optimistic about reading a spoof on cavemen. Quite the opposite. I’d be carelessly pessimistic about reading a spoof on cavemen. “Spoof” is a comedic red flag and as unfunny as seeing the word hijinks in the description of a caveman spoof: as in “Ogg takes a wife and hijinks ensue.” Can’t wait to read that – not. I must disclose I have a steamy wordmance and a mad nouncrush on the word hijinks. Hijinks has beauty marks only a literary cosmetologist could love – 3 consecutive dotted letters (iji). The only other words that come close are ḋu̇ṁb and ḍụṃber, and you won’t find me taking them out for dinner and a movie.
In gathering ideas for this spoof, only ethically-sourced and sustainably cultivated notions were used. The SPCR (The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Readers) stipulates that no funny bones were broken in the making of Cavemen Complain: Not Enough Cave Time and that any correlation between the arrangement of these words and something entertaining is purely coincidental. All comedic caveman stereotypes were formulated in consultation with, and guidance from the “other” NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Caveman People).
Foreword: I, Rock O’Fages, apologize for the timidity of this Stone Age piece. I’d hoped to make it boulder. I wrote this story the old-fashioned way. Not with a typewriter, but the really old-fashioned way: with a hammer, chisel and tablet – a stone tablet. This kind of writing is really groovy. It has to be, otherwise it would be so shallow you couldn’t read it. I mean the story is shallow anyway (a caveman spoof), so I needed to make a good impression on the stone tablets. Due to the ancient hammer and chisel technique I employed in writing this story, it’s literally a chip off the old block. Heck some of my Post-it notes weigh almost 2 lbs. and one of my stories was so heavy that when I carried the tablets in to my editor’s office I wore a truss. My last story (a puckish satire on The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union) was pulled from the shelves after causing 2 hernias in elderly readers.
In an effort to promote creativity prior to writing this spoof, I got stoned. Not by zealots with large rocks who mistook me for a heretic, but with cannabis. The good kind of stoning where you just can’t be perturbed by the never ending drama before you – understanding of it yes, but perturbed no. This clear-eyed look at our Stone Age brethren promises to be 4 things: sedimentary, metamorphic, igneous and sophomoric. Anything else would be beyond the scope of my savage brain.
As past is prologue and in an effort to more fully understand our origins, let us examine various facets of caveman society. I purposely use the vague term “caveman society” so I may draw from anything associated with primates of antiquity (BTW: Primates of Antiquity was proposed as a Disney ride, but was shelved in favor of Pirates of the Caribbean. Good move Walt. Johnny Depp would’ve made an unconvincing gorilla.). This written parody is a non-rigorous, cherry-picked examination of pre-recorded history and promises to be a delightful frolic through the time before dentistry (BTW: The Time Before Dentistry was another Disney idea shelved in favor of Tomorrowland.) Yes, my satire promises to be a delightful frolic, but it’s not. I can’t deliver on that promise because I don’t know how you’re going to interpret it? So sue me. Better yet, so stone me…the good kind of stoning.
Writing, like life, is a strange endeavor. The writer thinks they’re writing one thing and presenting it in away so it possesses a single interpretation or point of view. But you discover later (from various feedback) that your presentation is often quite dissimilar from what people actually experienced when reading it. This dynamic I attribute to the “Trapped in the Mirror Syndrome” whereby what we see in the mirror we believe we’re presenting to the world – putting our best face forward. But in reality we’re seeing a reverse image of ourselves in a mirror, divorced from what people looking at us actually see. And to put an even finer point on it; this misperception of appearances is akin to what we think our voice sounds like until we hear it on a recording…”Jesus, is that me?” We’re all fooling ourselves whether intentionally or unintentionally so why not make the best of things. And that brings me to this pleasingly primitive spoof on cavemen.
Cavemen Complain: Not Enough Cave Time
Table for Everyone
In the days before the Industrial Revolution and long before Wet-Naps were even on the drawing board, our ancestor cavemen were no more advanced than any other earthly livestock and we ate animals about as often as they ate us. The world was like a giant cafeteria with everyone on the menu. Without the ploy of sexual gratification to encourage reproduction, mankind would’ve died out long before Top Ramen Noodles saved a generation of college students from starvation.
At the dawn of time we vertebrates were all free-range animals and as such our fast-twitch, get-away-from-the-bad-man muscles were tough and chewy. This was no bonus for toothy carnivores without dentists. For eons we generally enjoyed the benefits of this type of cafeteria-style dining (there were no lines, bussing your kill zone was optional and you didn’t have to tip). However as caveman began to develop their trademark big brains (about the size of a panic attack), a guilty conscience over this “predator and prey” practice began to emerge and some felt great remorse about this lethal system of satisfying hunger.
Was death the price to pay for nutrition and was it worth it? Apparently so. I mean acorns and olives can only do so much to satiate hunger. They’re the appetizers of the Food Chain. Sometimes you crave a nice, juicy Wildebeest tongue or some savory Zebra entrails. To rectify this eater’s remorse, our gnawing guilt was psychologically relieved by recognizing that the unwitting animal we just slaughtered was allowed to roam freely on the savannas of Africa, or on the steppes of Russia, or even the stoops of Brooklyn. We relaxed while tearing open their soft abdomen (where the goodies were) knowing that these creatures of God were previously free range and able to enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement until we snuffed it out in a hail of sharpened sticks. Free range animals may have made it possible for our species to survive. Without such guilt-mitigation, mankind may never have gone on to produce Game of Thrones or even lobster bibs. Ivory tower scholars theorize these socially conscious cavemen may have been the forebears of today’s Democratic Party. However the more conservative Heritage Foundation calls these overly-sensitive brutes Limousine Cavemen – sauntering up to the kill after the dirty work was done and taking their share without actually contributing to it.
Cavemen as a Political Animal
Even though primitive man had the inner world of a prairie dog, some of the more enlightened cavemen wanted to stem the rampant caveman on caveman violence through some form of “club control.” It was a pitched battle with some of the wittier Neanderthals, who were opposed to club control, formulating slogans with quaint talking points like: “If you take away our clubs, then where are we supposed to party?” and this overly long call to arms “Clubs don’t kill cavemen…hmmm…actually clubs do kill cavemen. Let me think on this…OK, How about: If clubs are outlawed only outlaws will have clubs?”
The entire argument grew quite abstract with one side accusing the other of “Depriving us of the right to bear clubs.” And the other saying, “Bear clubs? I didn’t even know they could get a liquor license.”
Archaeological excavation sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens indicate some prehistoric peoples exhibited surprisingly refined tastes. For example, most of the cave dwellers in the Ajanta Caves of India had granite countertops. In fact detailed analysis revealed the entire cave was done up in a granite theme. Of course they also had granite floors, walls and ceilings. That’s because they lived in the side of a granite mountain. This decorative motif was known as “Early Flintstone.” Granite was everywhere and yet no one took it for granite. One can almost hear Jan Brady lamenting in exasperation, “Granite, Granite, Granite.” Of course it wasn’t all granite. Sometimes the granite Feng Shui was broken up with Pet Rocks or granite coasters so the granite glasses didn’t leave unseemly water rings on the granite tables.
Excavations by Latter Day Interior Decorators (not to be confused with fashion-conscious Mormons) indicate that even 40,000 years ago cavemen overpaid for simple arrangements of papyrus leaves and some throw pillows. Recently unearthed records reveal some cavemen paid a hefty 28¢ for a Wooly Mammoth Tusk fireplace mantle (that’s $8600 in today’s dollars). In Israel, Jews were paying half that amount to the Phoenicians for similar arrangements in “such a deal” that soon became known as “getting it wholesale.”
In the Later Flintstone Period (after Pebbles, but before the Great Gazoo) spartan caves became more lavish with All-Marble Sleep Number adjustable beds that you could have in any number you wanted as long as it was 90. But even at that these beds were rock hard. A status-conscious mentality began to arise whereby aspiring cave families tried to match the material splendor of their neighbors in a dynamic known as “Keeping up with the Uggs.” Other clans rejected this early form of consumerism vowing to live a monkish life in a cave someplace; well, off the grid and away from material possessions. Which simply meant continuing their way of life as it was minus a few granite coasters.
Cuisine (really more about food, but under a different heading)
Similarly to some of our food service employees today, most cavemen were unskilled laborers who didn’t pay attention to the “All Employees Must Wash Hands” sign either. What they lacked in hygiene they made up for in blissful ignorance. Anyone who has attended “Burning Man” would cheer the prospect of eating the caveman’s diet. Consider this: no preservatives, plenty of fresh “savanna to table” local vittles without any expiration dates. But after about 2 days cavemen probably wished they had a word for refrigeration. And yet this was another advantage of being a cavechild; never were you told to stop staring inside refrigerator and shut the damn door already.
The whole minimalist cave dining experience was a crudely organic event lacking dishes, napkin rings and tables. Fondue sets? – Forget it. Maybe for some proto-Laplanders who melted cheese for food and snow for water. And since the cage hadn’t been invented yet, all eggs were free range and cage free. A dinosaur egg could feed a pack of 6 Hominids for a week or until the mama dinosaur found out her baby was missing and dined on Hominid al Fresco.
Everything the caveman ate was organic. Sometimes a little too organic. Just ask the Dung Tribe of East Africa – this was recycling done wrong – very wrong. Cavemen didn’t have to work hard at eating a Paleo diet. To them it was called eating. Fortunately they had discovered fire so much of their diet was any food with the word “Charred” in front of it. They had developed a primitive kind of S’more called a S’less. As in today’s modern world, cavemen also rolled their eyes at being guilted into buying Girl Scout Cookies during Girl Scout Cookies Extortion Month – featuring tiny Heimlich Chokies and pert Snickernipples – some things never change.
Archaeological evidence seems to indicate that cavemen had no knowledge of Ah-Oo-Gah horns. They did however blow conch shells to notify neighboring tribes of an amputation or a sacrifice. Blowing conch shells worked fine until some of the more enterprising cavewomen started asking the conches for money in exchange for blowing them. Tawdry stuff even when considering caveman got 40% of their dietary protein from picking each other’s head lice. In fact it wasn’t until the time of King Arby that they developed the first drive-thru restaurant. And even at that it was just a stream of migrating Nomads who’d pluck low-hanging fruit conveniently located along their route. These Nomads plucked their fruit without any anger at all – which made sense in a way because, after all, they were “No mads.”
The more Freudian tribes began to wonder if the Nomads were capable of any hostility at all. Instead of calling them Nomads they began calling them “Suppressed Mads.” These were highly nuanced psychological categories for a society that didn’t even have fabric softener yet and had only gotten as far as inventing the chopstick. It would be almost 35,000 years until Peking Man got tired of pushing around rice grains with a single stick and finally put 1 and 1 together to make chopsticks. Evolution was a maddening process. Not only did cavemen have no concept of the wheel, they also had no concept of prostate massage. In a day when everyone was the black sheep of the family, schools were known as Juvy Hall. The genetic pool was getting murkier by the millennium. For example, Mary had a little lamb – and the doctor wasn’t surprised. With this kind of cross-pollinated ignorance abounding it’s no wonder it took 4 million years to develop air bags (Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity being prime examples).
Sexuality and Bonding
In prehistoric times “going clubbing” meant something entirely different. Monogamy hadn’t been memorialized yet as the customary form of male-female relationships – just as it hasn’t been memorialized now. It’s just a quaint ideal everyone celebrates, but few practice. The best analogy I can draw is how everyone agrees it’s a good idea for people to shower before getting into the pool, but they’re sure as hell not going to bother with it.
The dance of sexuality was no different in the days before KY Jelly than it is today. Cavewomen sought the same qualities in a caveman that today’s modern woman seeks: a mammal with a day job. Cavemen’s standards, as one might expect, were a little less demanding: a woman with a pulse or at least one that wasn’t badly decomposed. Marriage proposals could become quite creative. Evidence suggests a caveman named Feral escorted his soon to be fiancé Gristle to the latest kill under the pretext of sharing a nice ibex snout only to find Feral had rearranged the bones of the ibex to spell; Gristle, will u mary me. Luv Feral?
For marriage ceremonies the cave community would assist in primping the couple for the event. The lucky cavewoman would have the mats removed from her hair and the caveman might have his back shaved and his claws trimmed. And on that special day when two become one, she’d bring her bearskin to his cave for a post-nuptial roll in the fur. As time wore on those one room caves became tight quarters and one of the chief complaints of cavemen was, “Not enough cave time.”
The Caveman Social Compact
This is a condensed version of the Social Compact. And as you might imagine, a condensed Compact is especially dense. Here goes:
In an era when short, brutish lives were spanned barely 30 years, life’s stages were accelerated. A caveman lucky enough to reach 23 could collect a kind of tribal Social Security; which at that time was a nutrition supplement in the form of a scrawny Pronghorn Antelope fetlock (not exactly subsistence level, but it was free). As the caveman boomers aged into their mid-20’s and became less productive, it grew increasingly difficult to sustain even that paltry level of payment. By the Late Flintstone Period most of the high-paying factory jobs like club-making and animal-stabbing had been exported over the hill to the Olduvai Gorge where faceless masses of uncomplaining hominids did the exact same job for about ¼ the cost. This exporting of factory jobs was then known as Olduvaization. What were clan elders to do? The cost of providing this primitive caveman safety net was made doubly hard because of demographics where you now had only 2 hunters for every 1 gatherer. This unsustainable system prompted a backlash where tribal social Darwinists asked, “Umm, who’s Darwin?”
If a cavewoman hadn’t bore a child by age 13 she was considered an old maid. Some females in the Semantic Tribe would go out of their way to bore the hell out of other people’s children just so they could say, “Look, I bore children too” – a highly advanced concept in a puerile way. Health care was available to all, but the annual deductible was so high (your first born) few signed up for it.
According to sacred scrolls found tucked into their burial pits, cavemen didn’t care much for broccoli either.
The spiritual life of a caveperson was crowded out by the rigors of survival preventing most from delving into the luxury of worshipping Sky Gods or considering reincarnation or embracing Messiahs who may have stopped by to spread some love. Unlike today, cavemen couldn’t pick and choose their religion. There weren’t 15 flavors of Christianity, 5 levels of Judaism, 2 branches of Islam or even 50 Shades of Grey. Religion was called survival and anything else was speculative hogwash. Early Religions seemed to be formed to prevent (or explain) why bad things happened and the early selection process had more to do with which hare-brained myth you could accept without giggling.
No, theirs’ were short, brutish lives with short, brutish priests who demanded sacrifice and tribute otherwise the volcano (which apparently kept a list of who was naughty or nice) might blow and cover them in incinerating magma. Their God was a vengeful accountant who kept a ledger and if you didn’t pay up (to the rich priest who supposedly had God’s ear) you might make it onto the Lava List. This form of religious tribute was nothing more than a bizarre protection racket and may be the origin of the term “church bazaar.”
Now’s the Time
I’m lucky. I get to delve luxuriously into a self-created child’s Wikipedia version of the Caveman Era. They’re sharpening spears and I’m sharpening wit. Either way those victimized by us say the same thing, “Dude, you’re killin’ me.”