Intriguing Stories

Racial Purity in Kangaroos: The Australian Connection

In a souvenir shop in Cairns, Australia there is (or was in 1989) a shopkeeper in approximately his mid 60's with a special kind of flair for conversation. As I was looking at a kangaroo skin on a rack, the shopkeeper observed that a sale might be in the works, so he proceeded to lay on the charm as thick as his thick German accent could muster. He offered some insight into the origin of the skin.

"You see zis is from ze rrred kangaroo",

he explained. Not knowing the head end of a kangaroo from the tail, and not particularly caring, I responded,

"Oh?".

He picked up on my enthusiasm immediately and began to warm up.

"Yes. Zere is also ze vhite kangaroo. But zis is ze rrrred kangaroo."

He went on to explain more about differences between red and white kangaroos, obviously an expert on the subject. Now he was fired up and on a roll.

"Ah, ze rrrrred kangaroo vould never associate mit ze vhite kangaroo. Oh, no. She does not breed mit ze wrong color. She must preserve ze genetic purity of ze species..."

This went on for some time, escalating to fascinating heights. It soon became clear that the moral of all this was that there is a definite order in the animal kingdom, from the lowliest to the highest of forms. And it was clear that this order must be preserved to avoid mixing inferior genes in with the superior ones, thereby destroying all purity. As I left the shop inspired, my mind wandered off on a tangent like usual, pondering such trivial items as

"Hmm, let's see. This guy must have been about 65 years old or so at the time. How old would he have been in, say, 1944, for instance? I suppose about 20. Probably was living in Germany at the time. A German youth then. I wonder what brought him to Australia, running a souvenir shop of all things? Crazy world, huh?"

Perhaps a very special kind of German youth, ja?

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