Saturday, November 18, 2006

Uniformative Bones

You folks have probably heard of the bones of a Neanderthal fellow being found that would suggest that Mr. N. and Mr. C (Cro-Magnon) man may have been sharing the same cave address for a while. What I didn't realize, until my daughter pointed out, was the bones, or, specifically the bone fragments are from Croatia. Specifically, a cave in Croatia, caves being the predecessors to Moose Lodges and Elk Clubs.

Somehow, this did not surprise me. When I lived there or visited, I remember quite a few of the Croatian women saying to their husbands/sons/male colleagues, "Ma baš si primitiv!" This is a multi-purpose phrase which, depending on one's inflection, may mean;
1) "Look, I realize that you just started walking upright but could you act a bit more cultured the next time we go out!"

2) "No, you tie each shoe lace seperately on each shoe. Tying the two shoes' laces together will make us late for the Upper Sava Draughtsman and Window Embellisher Award ceremony." (you see, inflections in Croatia carry a full 3 set piece of luggage of words with them.)


3)"Come to bed, my darling. I've never met no one like you. But, please, clip your toenails; we're not primitive, you know."

It all makes sense now. These women knew they were dealing with the closest thing to that primitive human being, Neanderthal Man, known to us kiddies as Tata, Uncle, or Gospodin Crnić.

An excerpt from here indicates the high level of science practiced in the Land of Croats.

"Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues presented an initial analysis of Neanderthal DNA in this week's issue of the journal Nature. Rubin and his collaborators presented their own analysis in this week's issue of Science.
Both are based on DNA extracted from a bone that lay in a Croatian cave for 38,000 years.
"It's rather small and uninteresting and was thrown into a big box of uninformative bones" at a museum in Zagreb, Croatia, Paabo said.

Please notice that the box in question, the one with the uniformative bones is big. Big not being a scientifically determinable word, I'll imagine it's the size of a refrigerator packing crate. How many more answers to Life's Questions may be in that box?

Please, don't ask the Croatian scientists. Their wives still refer to them as "primitiv".

Kudos to the daughter for pointing out the WSJ article and not calling her dad, "primitiv".

Cro-Magnon Man?

...inflections in Croatia carry a full 3 set piece of luggage of words with them.

LOL Too true! It also takes a 3 piece set of Croatian luggage to say what can be said with an English dop kit...on our last trip, I timed the airline stewardess' admonitions in Croatian, and then in English, to remain seated until the plane came to a complete stop...a full minute difference. And stopping to ask someone for directions was always a full 30-minute operation, usually followed by salami and coffee at a stranger's house.

And the box? I'm sure I saw that box in Zagreb, out back of the church. ;-)
It is a well-known secret that many women in the Balkan region have every right to call their husbands primitivac: it's usually the wives/girlfriends/sisters/mothers who do the work, the thinking and deciding, while men get the kudos which they can then use for booze and cheap cigarettes...

But I would argue that this constellation gets lost as soon as one has moved somewhere else.
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