The Most Dangerous Game

The following essay was written by Noah Goldkamp, a graduate of Chaminade College Preparatory School and a student at the Saint Louis University School of Law, in response to the question: Why is punching a cheetah in the face awesome, and would it be more awesome to punch a different animal in the face (for instance, a shark or a gorilla)? 

Noah’s comprehensive defense of cheetahs is published here, edited slightly for space constraints. A second, opposing essay will be posted soon by contributors to this web log, in a point/counter-point style. 

(Note: Your editor is decidedly not in the cheetah camp.

Recently, I was made aware of the fact that not everyone thinks punching a cheetah square in the face is the ultimate act of manliness. I am twenty-seven years old, so I am aware that not everyone shares my views on various hot-button issues. But, I truly believed that all of America, whether Republican or Democrat, Jewish or Gentile, even rich or poor were united in at least one belief—that punching a cheetah is the pinnacle of manliness. Poor, poor pitiful me, how naïve I was.  

Cheetahs, admittedly sweet.

After spending the better part of the afternoon arguing over the topic with friends, I saw that our disagreement boiled down to one argument. The reason punching a cheetah in the face was not awesomely manly, according to them, was that a cheetah is not that tough when compared to other animals. 

They seemed to subscribe to the Neanderthal, meathead definition of the word tough. Like all meatheads, they associate big and muscular with toughness and manliness. Call me biased (I am only 5’3’’), but I believe being tough has a lot more to do with attitude than size. The “size equals toughness” argument can easily be crushed with one word: chimpanzee. This animal is so crazily vicious it will scratch off your face and bite off your fingers, while taunting you with allegations about your sexuality. (While it has not been scientifically confirmed, I believe the chimpanzee is one of the most homophobic species in the animal kingdom.) So, clearly size plays no part in whether an animal is tough or not, because the chimp is small, yet incredibly dangerous. 

During the argument, another proof was given for why cheetahs are not that tough. This proof basically boiled down to “cheetahs never attack humans.” My response to this point is—exactly. Assassins and ninjas don’t have their names in the papers, announcing their sweet kills. No, they silently go around and snipe their victims. In fact, the better they are at their job, the less you hear about them.  

Also, as a second response to this point, if you look at the cheetah’s natural habitat, there is not really a whole lot of human population there.  Bears, for instance, live in fairly close proximity to humans, thus they have more opportunities to meet and eat people.  A cheetah may go his whole life and not see a human.  Also, cheetahs are not idiots. It is common knowledge that humans taste horrible; why bother with a human, unless you have a good white wine that complements the human taste? Come on, where is a cheetah going to find a corkscrew in the middle of the desert? Plus, cheetahs are too tough to like white wine anyway. 

Now that I have rolled up and smoked all the points made by the other side, I will state my case as succinctly as possible.  

 Cheetahs are awesome.  Why?  

  1. They are super fast. So there is no way you are going to punch one in the face and get away with it. We have all heard the saying, “dumb as a gorilla.” You could punch a gorilla in the face, and then yell “look, a blonde on the Empire State Building,” and the gorilla will look away.  The ten-second head start will give you that essential time that you need to escape.
  2. Cheetahs basically have knives attached to their hands and feet.
  3. Cheetahs don’t respond to trash talk in the same way as a shark.  (It is easy to get into a shark’s head.)
  4. Cheetahs don’t hunt in packs like wolves. It goes its own way, not following the crowd.  I mean, look at what the cheetah wears, cheetah print has been out of style since the 80’s but the cheetah is still rocking it. I mean, do you want to tell the cheetahs they are out of touch with modern fashion? I know I don’t. 

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