Do You Want Some Bob With That?

by Ken Carpenter

I have always liked a good cannibal. Actually, I should clarify that, because as far as I know I have never met one. They are cool in stories, books and movies though, at least to me. There are three kinds of cannibalism. Survival cannibalism is eating other humans in an emergency situation, such as the Donner Party in the 1846 Sierra Nevada mountain range or the 1972 Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes. In case you are wondering, don’t be on a plane with me that crashes in the Lost Mountains. If we run out of food I’ll be sitting there with a fork waiting to outlive you so I can have some Bob Tartare. Gastronomic cannibalism is the non-survival type, meaning they are basically too lazy to hunt animals so they dine on the slower members of the tribe closest to them. That’s OK though, they are likely the ones that caused their slow cousins to disappear too. Some cannibals will eat the brain for knowledge, the heart for courage and the legs if the victim was fast. Most just gobble everything, with the bones roasted and ground for medicinal purposes. Sadistic cannibals are the psycho serial killer types who eat their victims because they are freaking nuts. Jeffrey Dahmer was a prime example, and this brand of people eater will never go away. Autophagia, eating one’s own body, is not even classified as a mental disorder in the USA handbook for such things. Wait a minute, let me help them out with their classification. They are nuts too! The word cannibal comes from the Spanish word Canibales, which was their name for the West Indies tribe of cannibals named the Carib. The Spanish had trouble with the letter R back then. The scientific name for cannibalism is anthropophagy. For some reason that word makes me hungry for rump roast. Hmmmmm, must have had a caveman cannibal somewhere in my bloodline. When humans first developed past the Neanderthals, being smarter and faster than their big-headed cousins, archeologists theorize that they dined on Neanderthal meat quite often. They were probably much easier to hunt than a mastodon, as well as more tender, so I don’t doubt it. Survival of the fittest is at the heart of cannibalism. Human meat is said to taste like pork and is mostly prepared the same way. It was, and is, referred to as “long pig”. I say IS because cannibalism is not dead. Certain tribes in the heart of New Guinea and Africa have found it difficult to give up their old piggish ways. A paragraph from Fredrick O’Brien’s 1919 travelogue of French Polynesia, “White Shadows in the South Seas”, highlights an interesting view of island cannibal life. “Upon it (the island) once stood the temple and about it were enacted the rites of mystery, when the priests and elders fed on the ‘long pig that speaks,’ when the drums beat ‘til dawn and wild dances maddened the blood.” I don’t know why he wasn’t on the menu. Just lucky I guess. ( Next week: “Packer, the All-American Cannibal”) Packer: The All-American Cannibal.