Consider the flatworm. There are many kinds of flatworms, and they like to live in dark, wet locations such as the ocean, or your colon. There’s not that much going on inside a flatworm. Flatworms are really too flat to even have insides. There’s no space for lungs or proper organs or anything. Stuff like oxygen has to be able to drift through them so they can nab it as it comes by; if they were any thicker, they’d be short of breath all the time. They do have a gut of sorts, but it’s not the greatest. They are able to shovel food in one end for a ways, but then they have to stop eating long enough to poop out the same hole. Persnicketyness is not common in flatworms. Also, they don’t kiss.
It’s a sad state of digestive affairs, but there are compensations. Flatworms have two penises, right below their heads. All of them do. And they all have egg-producing capacity as well. It strikes us as odd, but there is an evolutionary advantage to everybody having the same equipment. The ocean is a big place, and if you only meet the occasional flatworm, you have a much better chance of getting lucky if everyone’s set up along the same lines.
Virtually any penis-owning organism polled on the subject would say that the only thing better than having a penis would be having another penis. Flatworms went for two, because their imaginations are limited by not being able to count very high, on account of not having fingers. Given the choice, human males would have opted for at least ten, and there they’d be with their crotches waving like a sea anemone; and things would start bumping into each other accidentally-on-purpose, and before you knew it, all the hopes and dreams for the future generation will have been squandered into the nearest hand-towel. It would never work.
Works for flatworms, though. You might think the flatworm would spend all its time trying to get in touch with its feminine side, but it doesn’t. It tries to get in touch with the feminine side of the next flatworm over. They seem peaceable enough, rippling blithely along the ocean bottom, until they decide to have sex. And then it’s total war.
Because there’s a lot at stake. Since everyone in the neighborhood has man bits and lady bits both, it’s going to be a stabfest to see who gets to impregnate whom. It’s all en garde and penises at zero paces, and whoever manages to puncture the other first gets to ripple away and shoot the breeze with the other successful flatworms, while the other has to be the mommy, and the best she can hope for in life is that the kids won’t disgrace her in some way, and maybe she’ll get some macaroni art to put on the fridge. It’s bleak.
It’s not the only way to get new flatworms, though. If you dice up a flatworm, all the pieces grow new heads, eventually. It takes longer for the pieces that were furthest away from the original head, but there’s at least some forethought remaining in the entire worm. It’s a pretty slick trick, or at least it seems so to a species like ours that considers itself lucky to get any head at all.
But if you slice off the flatworm’s penises, they just grow anxious.
Shit out the mouth and trying to fuck everyone…kind of like our politicians!
I learn so much over here.
You are a naughty, naughty boy.
Joeh wins the Internets today!
This is the kind of thing I like to point to in response to people who expect aliens from another planet to be similar to us (Star Trek has too many people thinking that aliens would look like Deanna Troi and Mr. Spock, and flying-saucer nuts always report seeing basically humanoid creatures). If evolution has produced creatures as different from us as these are, right here on Earth, God knows what's out there in the rest of the universe.
Since everyone in the neighborhood has man bits and lady bits both, it's going to be a stabfest to see who gets to impregnate whom. It's all en garde and penises at zero paces, and whoever manages to puncture the other first gets to ripple away and shoot the breeze with the other successful flatworms, while the other has to be the mommy
Just imagine things like dating and marriage in an intelligent species whose biology worked like that. If aliens exist at all, they're going to be really alien.
That has always bothered me–that all the aliens everyone sees are sort of big-eyed bipeds, like we couldn't think of anything else. Well, except the ones with jaws jutting out of their bellies and stuff. But they're not the "smart" ones.
Your innuendo and double entendres are unsurpassed. That's a compliment, in case there was any doubt. I was going to ask you if that was really a pair of flatworms in the first photo, then I thought I'd google it and see for myself. One of the related searches that was offered me on the results page was "human flatworms", just as you mentioned, but I was not strong enough to click on that. I'm fine with it as long as I don't have to look at the pictures of them!
Innuendo and out you same endo. Bwahahaha. Thanks for the straight line, and I can't believe Murr didn't get there first. Or you.
In my defense, I've been out huckleberry picking all day long and yesterday too. Well out of the range of the mere internet. But I'm happy to see you all play so well and so smart without me!
Sylvan B: Brilliant 🙂
Awe and wonder. At them, and you. Tinged with a little horror. I really, really don't ever want to see the human sea-anenome penis thing (and the image is stuck in my head).
And now the image of the sea-anemone penis stuck in your head is stuck in my head.
I wonder how the creationist folk deal with this…
Who the fuck cares? As a group, they suffer from a serious lack of imagination.
WHY do you know this much about flatworms??
What sparked your interest in finding out?
I have never thought about flatworms in my life until today.
It's a legitimate question. I can't remember offhand how I got to thinking about flatworms. You read stuff, and then you have to go find out for yourself. This is neither here nor there, but I have a set of four taco holders in the shape of flatworms. Each one holds two tacos. I thought Dave would like them but he'd rather just make so many tacos that they hold each other up on the plate.
Are you pulling my leg??????
You know, that's a really odd expression, isn't it?
If science teachers made their lessons as interesting as you make yours, there would be…well, who knows. More scientists, or more humorists, or more book-burnings, maybe?
Oh shoot, they could throw in all my unpublished work and make a real bonfire.
Obviously, my education was remiss. I did make various artistic cuts on flatworms and remember growing ones with 2 heads, but NEVER was educated on the sex part. AND I was paying good money for that education. Thanks for filling me in for free.
My bill is in your mailbox.
I can't believe you have unpublished manuscripts. Your writing is better than a lot of stuff already between book covers.
Thanks. I've got gobs of unpublished manuscripts. The general consensus among agents who have read my stuff is "this is great stuff, but we can't sell it."
I can't believe you would write about flatworms. As a schoolboy I split their little heads, but never noticed their penises (or should that be penii?). Maybe I was still trying to figure out my own.
I'm guessing any flatworm with half a head would see a schoolboy coming with a scalpel and find a way to make those penises disappear.
I remember a band called the Seven Peckered Musk Ox. I should think that any 15 year old boy with two or more would starve to death. Which reminds me – you know how to identify an over-achiever? He comes in first and third in a circle jerk.
I got nuttin'.
Yes, I am ashamed of myself.
We all are, Roxie, we all are.