One of my few geek shirts is the one above, the old classic "98% Chimp" from those True American Heroes at ThinkGeek.com. (I have another I love which shows Darwin's finches and true adaptive evolution: Jet Engine Finch, Laser Eyeball Finch etc.).
Anyway, I was wearing my Chimp T-shirt at the pub the other day and some wag had a note sent down the bar to me. It read thusly, "What's the other 2%? Ponce?" I'm surprised he could do the math, but perchance the Memphis city school system is better than I've been lead to believe. I thought about this thesis on simple genetics for a moment, and decided that I should respond. After all, I am nothing if not a scientist and educator. I grabbed another napkin and a pen and wrote back thusly:
"Thanks for your kind note. Actually, the T-shirt is wrong. We're probably closer to 97% closer to Chimps. Our closest genetic relative is the Bonobo, another species of ape, at perhaps 98.5%. In fact like you and your sister they fuck face-to-face, and like your mom they even practice lesbianism. I digress. We're also about 85% similar genetically to pigs and even 68% to the fruit flies plaguing this bar. So, really what do those numbers mean? A chimp is 23% different from a fruit fly, and we are 25% different? We need to look deeper and explore not what the differences are between us as species, but what the differences are between us as humans. In fact, there is a greater degree of intra-species variation than there is inter-species! So, while you and I might be '2%' different from a chimp, the differences between you and I are actually more significant on a genetic level. Thus we can say we are 100% similar, yet we are far from identical. The differences between us make us who we are. While I might be "2% ponce" you are clearly at least 2% ill-educated fuckwad who needs to think before he smack-talks via napkin."
Thankfully he appreciated his impromptu genetics lesson, and even saw the humour in the incident, when it was pointed out to him that I have PhD in molecular genetics, am a regular at the bar. And at least 6 inches taller than him. And a kickboxer.