Your First Camel
A Message From The Department Of Homeland Camels
Like it, love it, or loathe it but sooner or later there will be no more oil. Oily people are here to stay but no more oil. If we could refine the oil from oily people that would be something but we can’t. Bottom line: the oil’s running out and there’s nothing we can do about it.
You could stick your head in the sand like the cunning yet proverbial and quite often peck-happy ostrich and hope that such an oil disaster doesn’t happen in your time.
Or you could look to the future, become known as an entrepreneur, wallow in adoration from nubile wenches, and be the first person on the block to own … a camel!
A camel? But aren’t there better, more futuristic alternative transportation methods?
Oh sure. Hovercars perhaps? Personal jetpacks? Segway trains? Molecular de- and re-materialisation tubes? If there’s one thing that scientific programmes from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s have taught us then it’s that every futuristic future fuel of the future has singularly and spectacularly failed to appear. We had the car back then and we’ve got the car back now. Looking to the future simply doesn’t cut it but we can always look to the past, learn, and modify it.
What are the benefits of the camel solution?
Camels occur naturally in nature just like oil but, unlike oil, camels are renewable. This should be good enough but there are plenty of other renewable animals out there too: greenfly for instance, harnessed in herds of several thousand, could easily pull a small child on a skateboard and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of their potential.
However, were we to suddenly ditch oil in favour of the aphid we’d find ourselves at the wrong end of the Stick Of Wrath wielded by the Saudi royal family. It’s a big stick with a long reach and it’s got sharp bits at the tip. The mighty camel is the answer to all our problems.
You’ve sold me. I want a camel. What should I know about them?
I’m glad you asked.
The History Of The Camel
Remains of an ancestor of the modern camel have been found in caves in France dating back to the late Jurassic period.
As with all creatures of the time the camel was far larger back then measuring over five metres in height and with a wingspan of twice that. Palaeontologists still debate to this day whether the carnivorous Humpadactyl could actually fly. What is known for certain from experiments undertaken in 1975 out of the back of a Boeing 737 conversion over Lebanon is that they definitely can’t now.
When man appeared on the scene over two hundred years ago he quickly learnt which animals bit him, which he could bite, and which he could use in some fashion – possibly to facilitate movement to a position where he could bite some other animal. The camel fell into the last group of animals (along with the chimpanzee and the trout) thanks to its well-renowned ability to store fat in its body and go without food and water for prolonged periods of time. The camel became the must-have accessory in the seat of civilisation: the Middle East. It is only in more recent times that the Fiat Punto has supplanted the camel as the status symbol of choice among the Arabic people and that’s only because of the air conditioning.
Buying Your First Camel
It’s all too easy to rush into things and buy the first camel that you find because you fall in love with his dreamy eyes. Stop! Think! Remember: all camels have dreamy eyes. Bear this in mind and you’re halfway there.
Remember, too, in your dealings with camel salesmen that, just like all salesmen everywhere in the world, every single thing they tell you is a complete lie. Lice aren’t a sign of healthy camel hair. Three legs doesn’t equal less wind resistance. One eye permanently closed isn’t eccentric behaviour typical of the species.
As with all battles – and buying a camel is a very real and very dangerous battle – knowledge is your best weapon and your best defence. Here are some things you should be looking out for:
- a perfect set of teeth may be something Americans derive great and unnatural pleasure from but where camels are concerned they’re a big indication that there’s something wrong. A camel’s teeth should be discoloured and point in at least seven different directions at once; anything else means the camel has been modified – possibly a half-and-half – and may not be roadworthy,
- you should ask for a "spit test" from your camel dealer and demand to see the "spit log." A camel increases its spitting distance up until the middle of its life when there is a sharp drop-off and the log and test together will help you to determine the age of your camel,
- one hump is indicative of the Dromedary camel, two humps are indicative of the Bactrian camel. If your camel has no humps it is probably a llama or sheep. Three humps or more are most usually associated with illegal immigrants getting carried away in their camel suit.
Naming Your Camel
Often overlooked by other camel guides but not this one because this one is the best, the name of your camel is both important and quite difficult for first-time owners. Everyone knows that dogs should be called "Fido" and "Rex" and "Shep" and that cats should be called "Tigger" and "Jess" and "Azrael" but what do you name a camel without making it neurotic or you the laughing stock of the camel industry?
Tip: Humphrey and Engelbert Humperdinck are not considered clever or funny.
Here are some classic camel names to help you: Sandy, Lawrence, Monty, Rommel, Dreamy, Camel, Tony.
Camel Care 101
As everybody knows, camels store fat in their humps allowing them to survive for up to three months without food or water. Of course, at the end of three months, they’ll have the figure of a supermodel and the carrying capability of a supermodel. And the face of a supermodel. They won’t be any use as supermodels though because most designers don’t work with quadrupeds. Except Gaultier. Despite being robust and economical you should not push your camel to the limits unless absolutely necessary and certainly not often. Keep the water topped up and a fresh supply of smoked bacon (the camel’s food of choice) handy and your camel could last you a lifetime. Probably not, though.
The camel’s hooves are perfectly suited for desert and rocky terrain but wear down quickly in more temperate zones and are not recommended on cobbled streets at all. Regular check-ups are essential to avoid dangerous "hoof-outs." There are no spares in the boot or trunk after all!
Like man’s best idiot, the dog, camels have hair and not fur. This means, like the stinky canine, that camels have a tendency to attract a certain odour unless washed and shampooed at least every other day. If this isn’t practical – and camels certainly won’t make this an easy task – then camel fresheners in the shape of pine trees can be purchased and hung from the neck. However, although this hides the smell, it is highly recommended that your camel is as clean as possible to avoid any nicks picked up during a typical day’s off-roading becoming infected.
Pimp My Camel
Practical uses aside, at some point you might just want to show off your camel to the other camel-owners in your neighbourhood. Your luck’s in because there’s a huge community of camel-pimpers out there customising camels and designing accessories specifically to enhance your camel experience.
Here are just a few of the enhancements you can add right now, but remember: you’re limited only by your imagination and your camel’s reluctance to kick you for making it look like an idiot.
- In-Hump Entertainment (IHE) : from DVD players to Playstations, karaoke machines and coffee makers there’s practically no end to the gadgets that you can have fitted into your hump (or humps) making those long journeys that bit more enjoyable,
- Speed Fins : nothing says "raw speed" like a nice set of fins and you can choose from a wide range of buttock-mounted aerofoils in every colour possible,
- Neon Lighting : if you’re one of the many people who watched the long shot of Omar Sharif coming across the desert on his camel in "Lawrence of Arabia" and thought "David Lean’s a genius but that would look so much better at night with a healthy blue glow underneath bouncing off the sand" then this is the modification for you; underbelly neon strips. Available in Oasis Blue, Mirage Purple, and Sunburn Red with more available soon,
- Chrome Hooves : if you’re tired of your standard camel hooves then why not blind pedestrians with a nice set of chromes? There are a variety of sizes and styles and they’re not just beautiful to look at but they’re also practical too, lasting over twice as long as conventional hooves with proper care and attention,
- Flame Thrower : nobody likes tailgaters and, to be fair, that’s not usually an issue with camels unless the person behind has suffered a terrible nasal accident early in life, but if you’re after a little more incentive to keep people from getting too close then how about fitting a flame thrower powered by and utilising the camel’s solid waste? (May not be street legal in your area; please check before ordering)
We hope you have plenty of happy years with your new hump-backed friend.