When I was a kid, I loved all things pig. And in this instance, I’m not referring to my absolute love of delicious pork (Mmmm, bacon). I’m talking about pig, the animal. It was my animal. Everyone has one, especially as a kid. My one goal in life was to eventually own a pot-bellied pig as a pet, as that was all the rage at the time. I thought pigs were adorable and I was completely enamored with anything having to do with cute little piggies.
So, pretty much every birthday or holiday, someone in my family or one of my friends would get me something with a pig on it. Calendars, stuffed animals, magnets, shirts, etc. Once, my Aunt even bought me a truly bizarre faux flower in a little wooden flower-pot, with a pig face where the flower should have been. Yeah, she was a bit kooky.
I grew out of my porcine phase when I was a teenager, but it didn’t stop people from continuously gifting me with pig items, long after I asked them to stop. In fact, the above mentioned pig-flower was received when I was about 20. My Aunt refused to get the message.
In college, I found that I had a preference for less classically adorable creatures . . . like snakes and rats. I bought a small snake in college and named him Incognito, because we weren’t allowed to have pets in the dorm. We called him Cog for short. I loved that little guy. I used to let him crawl all over me and get himself tangled up in my hair. I have pictures that make me look like some sort of Medusa apprentice. He was rad.
Then came the day when my roommate decided that she would adopt a rat from the science lab, since they were giving them away post-experiment conclusion. I was cool with that, never really thinking about the irony of having both predator and prey in the same room. Cog was small, though, and still only ate itty bitty baby mice, so I never really thought of it as an issue. And in fact, Lexi (the rat) was a big ole thing, and probably could have clawed the life out of my little guy. Not that we let them play together or anything, so there were no worries.
Eventually, the roommate moved out, and I inherited Lexi. Thus becoming the owner of both a snake and a rat. My parents were so proud. Actually, when I brought my pets home, they grew to love them as well. They were cool little critters. (The animals, not my parents).
Unfortunately, Lexi did not have a long life expectancy and passed away after only a year or so, and we were forced to find another home for Cog, after multiple escape attempts, ala Steve McQueen, and when he finally become somewhat bad-tempered and a bit too . . . bitey. It was just too much and we had to find a more appropriate home for him. It was painful to say goodbye to him, but not quite as painful as the multiple puncture wounds I had in my hand.
Once I was older and married (to a man who fears snakes), we adopted a traditional pet of the canine variety. We then had kids, who proceeded to win 2 goldfish at the State Fair. No more crazy pets for us. And no pot-bellied pig.
But now I find myself devoid of an animal. I mean, I have pets, but that’s not the same thing. They’re just pets. I feel like I need an animal. Or am I too old for that? I don’t think so. I seem to believe that everyone has a spirit animal that is the representation of themselves, or at least something that makes them ooh and ahh and feel warm and happy when they see it. And I don’t need to be a 12-year-old girl to have that.
Now I just have to figure out what my animal should be. Hmm . . . what to choose, what to choose. Maybe a monkey? Well, while I do appreciate a good cartoon monkey or stuffed representation, the real thing is just a bit too . . . smelly. Dolphins? A bit too fishy and drippy (I know it’s a mammal, hush). A bear? Nah, too shits in the woods-y. Wow, this is tough.
Wait, I’ve got it! My son just recently gave me a belated Valentine’s present (belated . . . not just for birthdays anymore) of an adorable stuffed penguin. It is really quite cute, and he told me that he got it for me so that I can have something to snuggle with when I go to sleep at night. He is really the most thoughtful and precious thing.
So, I think it’s something I could get behind. Real penguins are indeed adorable, right? I mean, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the colder climes in which they habitate, but I saw March of the Penguins! Ok, fine . . . I didn’t actually see that movie, but I saw a commercial for it at least. So, I know what a penguin looks like! They are sweet and adorable. So, I think this could be my new thing. Why not? Everybody needs a thing.
Plus, I totally embody penguin-like qualities. I’m cold, I like to swim, I love to eat seafood, I . . . wear a lot of black. Yep, I am very penguiny. I’m just not very fond of cold weather. Then again, not all penguins live in Antarctica. And it’s been pretty freezing around here recently, so I’m apparently right in my element.
So, it’s settled . . . the penguin it is. Plus, if I ever did decide that I wanted to adopt my special animal friend, I’m sure the hubs would appreciate a little tuxedo wearing bird moving in with us more than a slithery bitey snake. You’re welcome, hubs. It’s all about the love.
So, what’s your spirit animal?