Epiphoney Columns

Your new spirit animal

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Move on from the old adages and find one that suits your 21st century needs better

I don’t know who came up with the idea of spirit animals, but it sounds pretty lame. It’s a slightly more erudite version of shouting ‘Beast Mode’ at the gym. But this is not the time or place to bring about change; that stuff worked before the internet took over and people became too lazy to even go out and buy toilet paper. The way to be socially accepted today is to fan and fuel whatever flame is burning famous. And since I know fame better than your ex knows you, let me give you some advice on how to choose your spirit animal.

It is about more than just aligning with a goodie-two-shoes simile: ‘Loyal as a dog’, ‘Slippery as an eel’, ‘Brave like a lion’ or even ‘Hot like a foxy Cleopatra’. Instead, I have found other animal traits that are more useful to be adopted and assimilated should you wish to identify with one, if only to seek justification for your irresponsible, erratic ways.

1. Pearl fish lives in the anus of sea cucumbers, and come out only to attack unsuspecting creatures. The living quarters’ smell might be an issue, but the element of surprise while hunting is unsurpassable. The sea cucumber, too, compromises with rectal discomfort for safety in return. Now, if you aren’t a sea cucumber, learn to be the pearl fish. Either ways, you thrive.

2. When not mating, sloths live alone. And they don’t even need Netflix. Learn from the sloth, guys.

3. Magpies let other birds bring up their kids: this is an old one. Given the rising tuition fees and general nuisance of raising an ingrate who will despise you in a decade, I think it best to reverse adopt, ie, let your neighbours bring them up as one of their own.

4. Many years ago, even before Jurassic Park (the first part), dolphins were land mammals. But then they decided to return to the sea. No coincidence then that when the world is destroyed, they will be the first to leave with a cryptic “so long...”. Forget colonising Mars, let’s emulate dolphins and find a way to breathe and re-settle underwater.

5. A lab test, albeit a gruesome one I imagine, proved that humans, like mice and rats, will eat whatever is available to them. Just like we are all sell-outs provided the price is right, we are also all cannibals. Vegans included. Opportunistic omnivores for the win.

6. Koalas only come down to use the toilet or move to another location for food. Any human who lives in a flat and has broadband Wi-Fi can totally relate with this.

7. Shoebills sometimes stay still for so long that they can be mistaken for a statue. I use this technique at the end of every billing cycle, and so far it seems to be working.

8. Squirrels forget where they bury their acorns, which then grow into trees. It shows that all mistakes are a good thing. So what if you forget anniversaries and birthdays, I’m sure you are planting the seeds for a shadier future. Oh, wait...

9. Gentoo penguins propose with a pebble. Awwww. Get off Tinder and polish your game.

10. Oysters change gender depending on which one is more needed to procreate. So, an understanding of supply and demand gets them laid and yet most economists die lonely virgins. I guess it is all about application over theorising.

Going back to what I started with, my spirit animal, if there is one, would be an old English lady who wants to sit by the stove and sip tea as she tut-tuts the world outside. Yes, that sounds just fine, as life plans go.

This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 9:17:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/your-new-spirit-animal/article30050055.ece

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