Animal Instinct


#8 of 11 questions in 11 days, in response to Writingspiration:

If you could be any animal what would you be and why?

Any rational answer to this question would have to lean toward some animal at or near the top of the food chain, and anyone responding with “unicorn,” “dragon” or “gremlin” would have to disqualified. As long as we’re answering a hypothetical and totally impossible question, let’s keep it real.

Unfortunately, unless your choice of animal is “human,” any other beast is a distant second on the food chain. Man conquers all, with the exception of a nuclear holocaust, in which case it pays to be a cockroach.

You could go back to a time before mankind, and pick, say, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but then the grammatical tense of the question posed becomes an issue: If you could be and therefore choose to be a T-Rex, then you choose to, at present, to be a fossil. If you could choose to have been any animal and you pick a T-Rex, then you probably would have lived a long life, and you may just have witnessed the most significant historical event in the existence of this planet. Not a bad way to go out at the end, if you ask me.


But no, I will not choose to be or to have been a dinosaur of any kind. Rather, I will target the top section of the current food chain, and set my sights on an animal that can at least soar above the rest of it: A bald eagle. Being an eagle is an honor, even if my species is still clawing its way back from the verge of extinction. I have strength, beauty, and a hell of a view. I scrape other animals out of the clutches of the sea, grab them out of the brush on the land, and sometimes pick them right out of the sky. I even attack drones. I am a bad-ass bird.

I am a mascot and proud to be one. My representations on fields and in arenas are not of some fictional, oversized muppets with gimmicks and dances, but a true-to-life, bloodthirsty opponent to be feared. Where Native Americans may (or may not) be offended by being adopted as logos and mimicked by fans, I take pride in their imitations and think, “Ha! You wish you were me!” Where dolphins and rams would fail miserably if they, themselves, had to play an American football game, I could actually carry a ball and move with it, avoiding tackles, and even throwing passes.


Where chicken, duck, and turkey are manufactured for entertainment and for food, I am celebrated as a celebrity, preserved, and observed in my natural habitat. I am majestic; they are just fowl. I am a bird of prey; they are simply prey.

I suppose–now that I am an eagle–I am no longer afraid of heights, as I indicated a couple of days ago. I am no longer afraid of a lot of a lot of things that I once was when I was a person. I am still prone to being hunted, even plucked out of the sky myself, but I will take my chances. Catch me if you can.

Look, up in the sky!

It’s a plane!

It’s a Superman!

No, it’s a bird!

It’s me.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s