There are a lot of people who still don't believe that the "Noah's Ark" story from The Bible is an historic event that actually really happened.  Even though I'm in the minority, I prefer saying "an" historic event as opposed to "a" historic event. The below chart demonstrates how usage of those two phrases has changed over the last 200 years, or so...

In case you're just now hearing about Noah's Ark for the first time, it was a big boat that protected a 600 year old guy named Noah, and his family, and two of every animal on the planet, from a "great" flood sent by God that covered the Earth about 4,000 years ago.

My dad first told me the story of Noah and the Ark when I was about...three, I think...I can't really remember that far back.  I know I was really young because I didn't really question anything back then, my brain was so small and just starting to think about things.  My dad said that God was mad at man because they weren't living the way God wanted them to, so he decided to kill everyone and start over.  But God liked Noah, so he didn't want to kill him, so God taught Noah how to build an Ark, which is basically just a big boat, so that Noah and the animals could float around and not drown until the water either...drained off somewhere, I guess...or evaporated.  

It all kinda made some sort of perverse sense to me, but years later I started thinking a little more about it, and a bunch of questions started coming into my mind.  When I was seven or eight, I asked my dad where he thought all that water went, and he said he didn't know.  I said: "I know you don't know, but where do you THINK it went?"  He said: "I don't."

The Ark boarding, circa 2,385 BC

According to the facts, the Ark was big enough so that two of every animal in the world could make the trip.  That didn't really mean much to me at three, but as I got older it became harder and harder for me to wrap my head around.  I can remember when I was about nine I thought: "Wait a minute.  There are nearly 1,000,000 species of insects on Earth.  It would take FOREVER to have someone go out and try to gather up all those insects."  And I wasn't even taking into account all the other animals!  I have trouble gathering up one frantic chicken.  Two would be a nightmare.  What about elephants?  How are you going to convince two of them to follow you back to the boat?  It defies all reason, but, somehow, Noah did it.

Although my folks kept telling me not to think about it too much, I couldn't help but be curious.  I wondered, for example, who Noah sent to Brazil to get the two yellow-banded poison dart frogs that must've made the trip, and what precautions they took against the frogs's defenses, because those frogs must've been pretty spooked when some guy wearing a robe and sandals snuck up and tried to grab them. 

Dendrobates leucomelas

I wondered how many helpers Noah had, because no way he could've done this all by himself.  And how long did it take?  I remember thinking: "Damn, it must've taken centuries to capture, transport, feed, and clean up after all those friggin' animals."  And what about the animals that ate insects...or other animals!?  I guess they had to get more than two of every species...and somehow separate the ones that were meant to be eaten from the ones that were supposed to have babies.   

But the older I got, the more questions I had, and still have, even up until now. There's still a lot that I'm trying to understand.  For example...

God wanted two of every animal so they could reproduce, right?  That meant one male and one female, right?  Well, what if they didn't like each other?  How were you going to get them to have babies if they didn't even like each other?  What was Noah going to do to get them in the mood?  Would he just...put them in a room alone together, and then just walk out and close the door and hope they'd do it?  Maybe dim the lights a little so it would be more romantic in there?  Maybe Noah would put a...spoon...in front of...like, maybe he'd block the candle flame with a spoon to make it a little darker in there.  Or maybe Noah would somehow encourage cuddling, hoping that one thing would lead to another.  He might have told a...penguin...that she maybe wouldn't be so cold if she snuggled up against that other penguin in the room.  Nah, she probably heard that one before.

Or maybe there were some musical instruments on board, and Noah and some of his family members would play...romantic music, or something, to try to get the animals in the mood.  It kind of makes me uncomfortable to even think about that.  I could see Noah playing a...recorder or a...panpipe...playing slow music, kinda looking around uncomfortably at his...daughter, or cousin...who's playing like a...harp or a...zither, or something...and they're playing this slow romantic mood music looking around uncomfortably at each other while two ostriches are getting it on in the room.  

It might be windy outside, so the Ark's rocking back and forth a lot...and it makes the spoon...fall off of the candleholder and it gets really bright in there all of the sudden because the spoon's not blocking the candlelight anymore, so the ostriches stop what they're doing and look over at Noah, and they're really confused to see him playing music, and Noah stops playing and looks up surprised to see two confused ostriches staring at him, so he gets all embarrassed, because now the moods all screwed up so he just throws his panpipe on the floor and stomps out of there.

And how did they know for sure that they had one male and one female?  It's hard enough to tell whether or not any random cat is male or female, you have to look between their back legs to be sure.  But what if an animal didn't have back legs?  Like a snake.  I have no idea how to tell a male snake from a female snake, but Noah's animal gatherers apparently knew exactly what to look for.  I wonder if Noah's helpers had to go through some sort of training before being allowed to go out and start gathering animals?  Were they awarded some sort of certificate upon completion of a class of some kind?  This was a pretty important thing they were doing, assuring the survival of all the varieties of animals on Earth.  Like turtles.  That's a serious responsibility.  What if somebody messed up and got two males or two females of the same kind?  A species could've became extinct as a result of some lame animal gatherer's incompetence.  I hope that didn't happen. 

FUN FACT: Did you know that Noah had a son named Shem?  Probably a name he picked up when he was in Tennessee collecting two white-tailed deer (whose descendants can now be found anywhere from Canada to as far south as Peru, or even Bolivia, which makes them one of the most widely distributed wild ungulates).

Odocoileus virginianus

I wonder about the quality of the veterinary care available at the time.  What would've happened if an animal got sick or injured during the walk back to the Ark?  Would everyone have to wait around until that animal was treated and deemed healthy enough to travel?  What if an animal died along the way?  I guess somebody would've had to go back and get a replacement animal.  How did they determine who would go back to get the replacement, and would the others continue on or wait for the search party to get back to make sure that nobody got lost?  How were those search parties formed?  Did they draw straws to see who'd have to go back to get the replacement animal, or did some people just volunteer to go?  Maybe Noah made those decisions.  Maybe word got back to Noah somehow, like by a carrier pigeon or...smoke signals, or something, that an animal had passed away in Zimbabwe and someone needed to go back and get another one.  I don't know how that worked.

To tell you the truth, there wasn't much about the story of Noah and the Ark that made any sense to me.  Not much at all.  Actually, none of it made any sense.  It just seemed like too much of a logistical nightmare.  

And then it hit me!  I realized that God could've probably just snapped his fingers and - "POOF" - all the animals would've appeared on the Ark.  

But that same part of my brain that wasn't sure about how you'd get at least 2,000,000 insects on a boat didn't quite understand about the finger snapping thing either, but I just let it go.  I figured this was one of those times when, as my mom would say, I was "thinking too much."

I finally came to the conclusion that God shouldn't have even bothered with the Ark in the first place.  If he created everything, why couldn't he just get rid of the stuff he already made and make something new?  Maybe he was second-guessing himself because he had already created something so unacceptable that he wanted to drown everyone, so maybe he didn't trust himself to try it again.  Too bad there weren't any technical advancements around back then, like cameras, or... computers, because then we'd have God on video, or in an email, explaining his thought processes in a little more detail.  I don't know.  I gave up trying to figure out God years ago. 

What I DO know is, in spite of all the questions my brain keeps coming up with, I know that Noah got all those animals on the Ark somehow, and that's why we have animals with us here on Earth today.

The Ark unboarding, circa 2,384 BC

I know I didn't mention anything about dinosaurs, but neither did The Bible, so they must not have ever existed.  People talk about fossils, and how they're proof that the dinosaurs did exist, but I think fossils are overrated.

I have to go.