However, once, while in my canoe, I surprised a herd of elk coming to get water at the side of a lake and I’m pretty sure I caught the members of that highly organized gang “talking” to each other. The elk sentries, who hadn’t expected a threat to appear from the water, bugled a short series of commands in an efficient battle language, and suddenly the entire disciplined group simply vanished. Given this high degree of communal coordination, I figured that elk would almost certainly have an advantage in a battle of wits with me, even if I had an attack helicopter at my disposal.
Fortunately, a colleague at work (who has considerable biological expertise) sized up my capabilities and suggested a fitting challenge.
Arms: 2 (includes hands with fingers and opposable thumb)
Brain: 1 (but it’s old and not as fast as younger brains – a scientific fact relayed to me by my younger colleague)
Offensive/Defensive capabilities (natural): Two eyes, a few canine teeth, fists, scratching or prying fingernails and three high school wrestling moves (one of which is an illegal head butt).
Offensive/Defensive capabilities (artificial): Clam gun, hip-waders, shovels, pot of boiling water, sharp knives and frying pans.
Legs: none (but does have one foot)
Offensive/Defensive capabilities (natural): Can spit sandy water a foot or two, protective shell, good digger.
Offensive/Defensive capabilities (artificial): none
In this image, a clam taunts me.
Like some macabre gold rush, clam prospectors rape the beach of its natural resources. (…from the point of view of a clam anyway)
Through our species’ ability to share information, I am soon able to mimic my colleague’s effective clam capturing technique.
The ocean tries to cover the retreat of those few clams that still survive.
My colleague’s husband demonstrates that he is way smarter than a clam.
This human let his guard down for only an instant, and his clams made a break for it. He wrestles a handful back into their container.
The beach is pock-marked with craters, as if it has been bombed by a formation of Stratofortresses.
Then the real horror begins.