Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Tony Deyal | Mouth-to-mouth coordination

Published:Saturday | February 4, 2017 | 2:00 AM

Earlier this week, Britain's Guardian newspaper headlined an incredible scientific discovery, 'A Huge Mouth and No Anus - This Could Be Our Earliest Known Ancestor'. The newspaper added: "Thought to have lived 540 million years ago, the discovery of Saccorhytus coronarious fossils sheds light on the early stages of evolution."

While the light is dim and distant, The Guardian believes that the creature's fossils would give a peek into the early stages of evolution. The lack of an anus by a bottom-dwelling marine creature, while ironic, is not new. The Guardian stated that other creatures, such as the worm-like acoels, are also known to lack the orifice. The one-millimetre-long animals are said to look like little black rice grains, but when seen through an electron microscope, they reveal a series of folds or wrinkles around their mouths, which allow them to swallow relatively large prey.

However, the lack of an obvious opening for defecation has caused considerable discussion and even heated debate among the scientific community. Some experts say that the animal is like a digestive sac with holes on the side for excretion.

Others go with Science Daily, which says, "The researchers were unable to find any evidence that the creature had an anus. If that was the case, then any waste material would simply have been taken out back through the mouth, which, from our perspective, sounds rather unappealing." Unappetising, too, I would think.

 

EARLY POLITICIANS

 

This deduction by Science Digest has even greater significance for human evolution than even the discovery of our remote ancestor. What it leads to is something that we have only known through observation and a deep study of human behaviour so far. It is all but indisputable that these animals were the progenitors of our modern-day politicians who inflict the double duty of locution and evacuation simultaneously on that one overworked organ, their mouths.

Even though so many millions of years of evolution have passed, this unique ability to have that one important feature perform double duty is the main distinguishing physical feature of the genus politicus. Some are so dense that they cannot walk and chew gum at the same time, but they are still quite capable of talking and defecating concurrently and without telegraphing their moves with greater facility than Saqlain Mushtaq or Sunil Narine. In fact, they have got so good at it that they are not sure themselves what their mouths are doing at any given time or place.

I know there are some of you who would question my veracity, intentions, good faith, agenda or motivation. I accept this. The credulity with which many of you unquestioningly accept political pronouncements and promises is missing altogether from your reactions to journalists.

While a lot of this cynicism and suspicion of the media is increasingly deserved, we are not dealing with opposites here. It is not all black and white these days, except in Donald Trump's America, but shades of grey. Stone throwing is completely out of the question by either the media or the politicos, because those without sin who possess great hand-to-eye coordination and pitcher-perfect accuracy are few and far between.

To satisfy even the most doubting of Thomases, let me provide you with a recent example, this week in fact, that proves my point. One of my colleagues, Paolo Kernahan, drew the attention of his Facebook friends (of whom I am one) to a letter to the editor of the Trinidad Express by the minister of finance of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Colm Imbert. I would think it is a sentiment expressed by Imbert to his colleagues who encouraged him to write.

Paolo said that Imbert "roundly" condemned a columnist, Michael Harris, who had written an article critical of the government's handling of the economy. Imbert is quoted as saying, "Harris has no qualifications in finance or economics and his random thoughts on these subjects serve little useful purpose ... ."

 

LACK OF QUALIFICATIONS

 

What Paolo points out, and I have also researched, is that Imbert has graduate and postgraduate training in areas like engineering and construction law. However, even though he is the minister of finance of a multibillion-dollar economy, he has no specialist graduate or postgraduate qualifications in finance or economics. In other words, he suffers from the same lack of qualifications in finance and economics as Mr Harris. In which case, his letter to the editor also served little useful purpose.

I feel this proves my point, especially as the following involving Grenada was reported in a local newspaper in 2012: "National Stadium Project (Grenada) Corporation (NS) - a company owned by Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert - has lost an appeal against a High Court ruling that Emile Elias' construction firm, NH International (Caribbean) Limited (NHIC) be paid for work done on the Grenada National Stadium construction project in 1997."

I make no further comment on Dr Imbert's qualifications, experience, expertise, competence or capacity. There are numerous other examples of the unique ability of politicians which, if we were dealing with bowlers, we would call 'ambidexterity'. However, there is no Latin word for what politicians can do with their mouths, and so I have coined the term 'ambiostia', or 'double-mouthed'. This is different from being 'two-tongued', an affliction from which they also suffer. The fact is, what they do is so synchronous that you don't know whether to offer them a breath mint or wipe them out with Charmin.

- Tony Deyal was last seen saying that politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.