Kids say the darndest things. Aren’t they cute? And where in the world do they get some of these strange ideas? I remember several years ago, my daughter came home from elementary school and she asked me:
“Daddy, who would win a fight between an elephant and a shark?”
“Elephants and sharks don’t fight, honey.” I said.
“Yeah, but if they did. Which one would win?” She insisted.
“No, dear. Elephants walk on land in Africa and Asia. Sharks are hanging around beaches eating surfers. They never meet.”
“I know. But daddy, if they did, who would win?” She was so insistent. So innocent and pure. She had that gleam in her eye. That sparkle that signified her thirst for knowledge.
Well, I placed her on my knee and like any loving, respectable father, I gave her the obvious answer:
“Alright, will this fight be at Las Vegas and will Don King be the promoter?”
“Who is Don King?” She asked.
“Well, you just run along, dear. Daddy is busy right now. We’ll talk about this later.”
She ran off to play with her friends and I began to think about this deeply. In fact, this elephant versus shark question lead me to many more unanswered questions: Just who would win? What are they teaching kids in school now-a-days? And finally, would the fight be broadcast on ESPN pay-per-view?
I made a mistake recently and wrote my opinion and followed it up with facts and statistics as to why I don’t think America is such a free country anymore. This brought me an avalanche of mail from people whose basic well thought-out premise could be boiled down to:
“America is the bestest. So there.”
I had to find a good counter-argument to these wild claims so I decided to investigate further into the mind of my opponents. I needed to understand what my enemy was actually thinking. But how? That’s when it clicked: The Discovery Channel!
I flipped on the lobotomy box and, lo and behold, the Discovery Channel was actually having a very educational program about just what I was thinking of:
“Who would win a fight between a shark and a crocodile?”
It was a great show. The computer-generated special effects were really special. The shark bumped the crocodile as it was swimming by (sharks are dumb, they do that — bumping things to see if they are food or not.) The croc got mad and attacked the shark. It was a vicious battle! Finally, the powerful jaws of the crocodile grabbed the shark and both plummeted to the bottom of the ocean, lake, er, water. Yeah, that’s it.
The shark was finished. As they both sank to the bottom, the croc let go of the shark and it looked all over (except for the shouting.) But no! As the crocodile went up for air, the shark nailed him in the stomach and killed him.
You see, scientifically speaking, the crocodile is a big lizard, so he needs air to breathe. But not the shark. When the croc had to let go because he needed air, that gave the shark the chance to go up from the bottom and chomp and big piece out of the crocs soft under-belly!
So now that I had the scientific formula that many Americans could understand, how was I to use this formula to show which is better: America or Japan? I thought deeply about it for almost a second and came up with this:
First off let’s go to the tale of the tape.
And now let’s go to our ringside announcer, Michael?
“Thank you were at ringside now for this very exciting challenge. Representing the United States is gunslinger Wyatt Earp. You might remember that Wyatt Earp was the last man standing at that very exciting bout at the O.K. Corral. You might say he was the only one that was, “Okay!” (crowd boos and hisses). Versus Japanese gangster and thief Lupin the 3rd. Lupin comes into this fight wearing his traditional green sports jacket and that God awful yellow tie. Makes you wonder who his tailor is, if….he….indeed… has one.
Start of round one. And there’s the bell! Wyatt Earp looking quite sharp with his handlebar mustache. He looks quite the man. He steps forward with his spurs a janglin’ and… Oh no! He forgot to take his shoes off before he stepped into the ring!… The crowd roars its disapproval. That’ll probably cost a point… No! Merely a warning from the referee. Lupin the 3rd doesn’t look like he wants any part of Earp as he makes every effort to run away from authority stringing along his beautiful girlfriend Fujiko.
They eye each other in the middle of the ring and… Wyatt Earp out-draws Lupin and fires six shots at him at point blank range! Bang! Bang! Bang! Lupin is hit! The rear of his pants are on fire as he yells “Owwwww!” and puts his bottom into a cool bucket of water! Look at that steam rising! Oh that’s gotta hurt. Oh my! But you know how resilient these cartoon characters are. He’s back up! And now he looks mad!
But what’s this? I can’t see what’s happening… Yes, yes….It’s Zenigata Keiji, the Japanese police man, who jumps into the ring and slaps handcuffs on both of our contestants as owning a pistol is against the law in Japan. The crowd is booing fiercely as this fight was just getting exciting.
My, my, what a turn of events here, ladies and gentlemen.
Wyatt Earp is complaining to the judges that carrying a handgun was fine at the O.K. corral, but the judges from Mexico, Romania, and Thailand can’t understand a word he is saying. But those are the rules… Those are the rules in Japan…..
Well, I guess that’s it. The referee agrees — carrying a pistol is against the law in Japan and he is waving off the fight. The fight has been called! And now back to the studio….”
And so, once again, we are unable to answer the question: Which is the bestest place to live in the world.
Be sure to check out my next article where we dig deeper into the question of which country is bestest — Japan or America? Next time, we’ll look at this fascinating discussion from a completely different perspective when we go to San Francisco to examine: Who would win a fight between Beavis and Butthead in a German Tiger tank versus Godzilla!
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has worked as an independent writer, producer, and personality in the mass media for nearly 30 years.