No, no, no. It’s all wrong, written from your perspective as humans.
Let me set the record straight. I am a camel (a one lumper) who will remain anonymous. I’m hiding behind my words, for good reason, as you shall see.
We originally bedded and bred in North America during the Palaeogene period and somehow made our way to Africa, God knows how ...later. By 2,000 BC Somalia’s nomads were taming us.
So we adapted. Folks don’t think we are the sharpest arrows in the quiver but when we took a look at the heat, and the sand, geez, the sand across North Africa and the Middle East, we decided our hooves had to go. And, somehow, we ended up not only in those scorching (and freezing) places, but got to Mother Russia and the Gobi desert, besides. We pick the toughest terrains to live in, where predators like lions, don’t. Lord love a duck.
Back to the hooves thing. You read it right.
We no longer have hooves. Over millennia we whittled them down to, basically - nails. Then we flattened our soles and whipped up webbing between our toes so we wouldn’t sink knee deep in sands. Listen, we knew if we were to be the beasts of burden in your caravans, we’d have to have the perfect foundation in which to cross deserts. We don’t like it, but we put up with it. We’ve done our part. And when we get to shores we swim! On top of these feats of feet we give you milk and meat.
And the thanks we get?
We lumps get schlumped. Into camel racing.
And in Mongolia, just this past March, 1,108 of us Bactrian camels (two lumpers) hot-footed it in the biggest camel race ever. How inglorious and ignominious is that?
We are prodded, primped, and paraded - plainly being (mainly) - put out as ornaments, all so painful to our personas spiritually, but, uh, more than that we hurt - physically - with arthritis, sore shins, wonky knees, and broken bones.
Despite these ailments our speeds have increased some 30% in the past 50 years. We can max out at about 40 miles per hour - for a short burst, of course. For a longer course, we can run 25 miles per hour. Not bad, huh?
And you might not have known this: we females run faster than males! We females are choice because males are largely uncontrollable. (That’s also a human characteristic, right?)
Note, too, we run differently from other four-legged creatures, like Arabian horses, for example, in that we, whether in drifts or dunes, whether walking or trotting, with both legs – in tune - on each side – work in unison, rather than in an opposite leg – way.
Now, back to you for forcing us to race. Your disgrace makes us a wildcard. We, perchance, are a happenstance of circumstance. When you organize your racing pageants we, whimsically become predictably unpredictable. Running straight is boring to us and often we’ll veer off – just for the heck of it. Our ambivalence towards decorum neither pleases or displeases us, but from the reactions of spectators to this “sport” you love it when we go off the grid. (Oh, by the way, stop embarrassing yourselves and humiliating us with exhibitions like having us race midgets.)
We’re not stupid. (Our smirk makes us look above-it-all, doesn’t it?) We know, so far as the Middle East goes, why you race the dickens out of us. We’re aware our “intrinsic value” rises after a win. We hear owners brag, and discern they get big monetary bumps.
Thus our bosses are impelled to have us fly right, while they, rightly or wrongly, swear on the Qur’an of our origin and age, bespeaking of a clean operation - clean of stimulants. Blood samples are often taken from us winners, just to make sure…
Speaking of blood, camel racing has had a bloody, messy history. This centuries-old “Sport of Sheikhs” had the U.A.E banning jockeys in 2005 because boys, as young as 6, mind you, had been press ganged into service and the kids - not only missed their childhoods, they missed their meals – all to lighten their racing load.
So, shoot, enter the Robot Jockey. They cost a few of hundred dollars. Kudos to the decent among you humans and congratulation too, we suppose, must go to UNICEF for forcing the switch.
Unfortunately, as our relatives in Dubai warn us, these robots are armed with stun guns.
To jolt us.
How awful is that?
A couple of people ratchet on that miserable gadget - to only then go off the matrix, driving like banshees - in their own crazy car race/chase - exhorting, via radio, us to keep in our lane – and win.
Where is PETA when you need it? And stop with the muzzles (knitted toques) to prevent us omnivores from eating everything in sight.
There is one plus to racing in Dubai, however. When we’re hospitalized there a therapy room awaits at the Dubai Camel Hospital.
But we “ships of the sand” hate it when our inner plumbing is sabotaged by trainers feeding us too many carbohydrates. Sure, this helps boost our racing energy but a bad side effect is acidosis.
But the show must go on. In Qatar camel racing is the most popular sport. But even in Australia we race in something called the Lions Imparja Camel Cup. It’s in Alice Springs. It’s not like we want to race there. Geez, we didn’t even set up shop in the Land Down Under, until we were sent packing there back in 1860 when a couple of guys, Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills, decided to trek about.
Sorry, got a bit off track. We even race in places like Sam Houston park in Houston, Texas, USA and, get this, we dash madly in the Astrakhan region of southern Russia on behalf of crazy, kooky owners who catch us wild, double humps a week before a race. They then attempt to teach us the rudiments off a civilized society in a crash-course. What a joke. Small wonder we get rude and unruly when crowds crowd.
Waste not, want not: you say. We say: Race not, want not.
Until then, we, figuratively and LITERALLY, from our prehistoric parent, Protylopus, to us kids - calves – all 17 million of us, spit at you humans!