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Searching For The Inner Animal
by Beth Boswell Jacks

Don’t deny it – you’re examining your life also. The rollover into a brand new year full of possibilities sets us on an inner journey to evaluate ourselves. Are we growing spiritually as well as physically? Are we negative and insecure, throwing up roadblocks to personal success? Are we able to resolve our fears and conflicts?

Are we on course with our lives . . . or are we porcupines?

I ask the latter question because, during my new year’s soul search, I was told I’m a porcupine, and excuse me but that didn’t sit well.

Roy Feinson’s book titled The Animal In You explains all this with a database of fifty animal species and the personality traits observed in these different species. This is all actually quite helpful because, for example, if you’re set to marry the love of your life and you are, say, a “fox,” you must be careful to make sure that potential spouse is not of the feline family (“wildcat,” “lion,” “tiger,”), else you’re heading for a bunch of knock down, drag out fights around the breakfast table.

Or if your best friend turns out to be one of the “bird” personalities, steer clear. Birds make superficial pals.

At least, that’s what Feinson says, along with lots of other fascinating advice.

I was gung-ho about all this till I took the test and was told I’m a porcupine. Actually, the final result stated I’m a porcupine or a weasel, but I knew darn well I didn’t fit the weasel mold (closely related to badgers and skunks). I ignored that because the explanation stated: “Typical weasels are lawyers and politicians.” Not me.

Frankly, the porcupine could possibly be my inner animal, except for the part about our species having an “over-abundance of attitude and a disagreeable personality.”

But I liked the idea of having a sharp mind like a rodent. In fact, Feinson says I should be comfortable and secure in the company of mice and mole personalities (but should avoid bears, foxes and wolves).

Well, I confess that the idea of being classified as a porcupine was disconcerting – so I took the test again and lied. On every question I stretched the truth as far as I could.

Am I attractive? You better believe it. I turn heads with my vivacious and sexy demeanor.

Am I gregarious? Of course. I have a huge circle of friends and party till the wee hours of the morning every single night of the week. That’s the way – uh huh, uh huh – I like it!

Am I intelligent? Read my lips: Phi.Be.Ta.Kap.Pa.

Perfect me, don’t you see?

Well, lying got me nowhere. Major fibbing changed this porcupine into a badger, confident and tenacious, but domineering and inflexible.

Whoa. I’m anything but inflexible. In fact, as the bumper sticker goes, I’m so flexible I tie myself in knots.

I tried again. This time when I took the test I gave myself some slack, but not so much that I’d dangle in the wind. Every question was answered in a sweeter, kinder manner.

No better.

I was a sheep. Nondescript and uninspiring, I was told. “Dressing conservatively, affable and meek, sheep draw as little attention to themselves as possible. They have a lack of ambition and vision . . .”

Nix. That’s enough about sheep. Baaa baaa baloney.

Well, it was back to being a porcupine, which actually put me in good company – Joan Rivers, Don Rickles and some other folks I never heard of. I sifted through the porcupine description frantically for something more positive. Resourceful, it said. Creative. (I liked that.) Porcupines avoid manual labor. (Got that right. Nothing dumb there.)

And, says Feinson, if I find a job “requiring a biting tongue,” I am able to “perform above the call of duty.”

This means, of course, as I evaluate my life and career, I must now become more prickly in order to reach full potential.

Indeed, I am animal; hear me roar – or whatever porcupines do. Stand back or suffer because I am [thinking about] getting r-r-rready to bristle and barb.

Welcome to the new me. I’m baaa baaa baaad.


For more SNIPPETS stories, read these:
Forget Your Troubles ~ C'mon, Get Older!
Getting My Get-Up-And-Go To Go With My Get-Up
The Good Wife's Horse Tale

Editor of USADEEPSOUTH, Beth Boswell Jacks is the author of 3 books (Grit, Guts, and Baseball and Snippets I and II) and is also a weekly columnist for a number of Southern newspapers. Readers and editors may contact her at bethjacks@hotmail.com.
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