Monday, March 11, 2013

The Animal Within...

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Seems like a simple enough question, right? All you have to do is close your eyes, search deep within yourself, release your inner child from the shackles of adulthood for a moment or two and let ‘em go to town. Every animal that has ever appeared cool, groovy, nifty, awesome, badass or in any other way even remotely the shit to you in your entire life will be put on rapid display behind your eyelids. Within mere moments, you and your itty bitty childhood self sort through images of winged assassins and slithering poison factories, furry bundles of cuteness and scales with teeth. All of these scenes play out in a matter of seconds. Feverishly, the two of you whittle away at the choices until you reach the conclusion that seems to be the most logical conclusion of all conclusions ever to have been concluded. Jeez, I don’t even know why you had to ask such a question. I can see it so clearly in my mind’s eye now…I thought it would be obvious.

I am a mother fucking dragon.

Now before you go and proclaim your newfound animal persona to the world, I’m going to burst your happy bubble. As a sweeping generalization, we (that’s you, me and all the other humans running about) are pretty terrible at looking at ourselves objectively. When asked a question like the one posed above, many people will come up with some answer along the lines of their favorite animal. They’ll jump quickly to the animal that, in their humble opinion, has the sharpest claws, the prettiest colors, the sneakiest camouflage or what have you. As fun as this exercise may be, responses gotten this way will inevitably fail to answer the heart of the question. The vast majority will actually provide an answer to ‘what animal would you like to be?’ instead of really examining what they are.

I am not a mother fucking dragon.

The best way I have found to answer the initial question is actually to tackle it from another angle. Remove your own thoughts from the equation entirely and pose the slightly altered question to someone else: If I were an animal, what would I be?

This slight change, simply replacing ‘you’ with ‘I,’ makes all the difference. Other people have a much easier time looking at you objectively. They are, after all, outside of you and your head. Your preferences, past animal experiences, inclinations towards one species over another…none of these things matter nor will they affect the final decision now that it is out of your hands. It is through this very method of questioning that a new meerkat friend of mine (you know who you are) revealed to me the creature that most exemplifies all of my inborn qualities.

My dear friends, I am a whooping crane.

At first, I was almost offended by the meerkat’s suggestion. He demonstrated a few ridiculous whooping noises loud and proud for me right there on the subway platform. We argued over the severe imbalance of screen time we each received in Disney’s The Lion King. I went home in a tizzy. The nerve of that furry little insect muncher! Naturally, I turned to my roommate in the hopes that her opinion on the matter would put me at ease.

“A whooping crane? I can totally get behind that.”

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. In an effort to prove them both wrong, I consulted the gods of Google to learn more about these whooping cranes. Surely then I would be able to disprove mister meerkat’s theory.

The problem came almost immediately upon the start of my research. As it turns out, there are several distinct similarities between the whooping cranes and I that are damn near impossible to overlook. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

The whooping crane is pretty much the tallest bird in North America. If you do a quick image search, you’ll see that a good deal of that height is in the crane’s legs. By no means am I the tallest man alive, but at 6’3” I’m definitely up there.

These elegant, beautiful creatures, as it turns out, are whiter than Casper the ghost. Think blindingly white, and then bleach it once more. For those of you who haven’t ever seen me shirtless, I feel this is an accurate description. Put me under a black light, and you’re in for a treat.

Vocal Talent:
As a musical theatre kid, I take great pride in my ability to entertain an audience with my singing prowess. Whooping cranes are so well known for their music that it’s a part of their name. Take a moment to click here and listen to a whooping duet. It’s magickal. Truly, the similarities between our vocal styling are staggering.

I am a dancing fool! I don’t care where I am or who I’m with, when I feel the groove start to rise I simply can’t help myself. And I have to say, if the dancing shoes come out on a date…sex is on. It seems, according to the sources at Journey North, that my avian counterpart is exactly the same way.

“When a whooping crane wants to mate or bond with another whooper … the crane struts around in a high-stepping march and shows off its beautiful plumage. The crane tries to ‘invite’ another bird with its body language. Ruffling its feathers, growling, stomping its feet, and tossing its head in various displays is the ‘come on.’ … When whooping cranes prepare to mate, they leap, bow, run around, and throw sticks in the air. Cranes are famous for their dancing.”

Well that definitely sounds like me.

Alright, so I suppose all of my research boils down to this fact: I am actually a whooping crane. Had I never bothered to ask the modified version of the question, my friend may have kept his thoughts to himself, and I would never have known my true animal identity. I could still be going around telling people I’m a dragon for goodness’ sake. Thank you, meerkat, for being an objective friend and showing me the light.

Now that I know what I am, dear reader, I think it’s your turn to find out for yourself what you are. Consider it your Monday assignment. Put your own opinions aside and ask someone else what animal they see in you. You might just find yourself pleasantly surprised with the answers you receive.

Happy Monday Fun Day, you animals!

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