Lame Animal Totem: Bony-eared Assfish

bony eared assfish

There is a creature swimming our oceans that is called Acanthonus armatus. But, perhaps because Acanthonus has the smallest brain-to-body weight ratio of any vertebrate, it prefers to go by its more familiar name, the bony-eared assfish. I did not make that up.

You can know that Acanthonus armatus is your animal totem if you’re swimming around subtropical waters and you hear yourself call out, “Whoa, Mabel! Get a load of the bony ears on that ass fish!” Listen: fish don’t have ears, and you don’t know anyone named Mabel. Now, I know that if the bony-eared assfish is your totem, you’re already having trouble following this, so just lie still and try not to think.

Lame Animal Totem: Lungfish

The lungfish is an African creature with awesome skills. In dry times it digs into the mud, encases itself in a hardened mucous shell, and lowers its metabolism to 

almost nothing. It can stay that way for up to four years, reviving and emerging when rain finally arrives. Occasionally people make bricks out of the mud, and on rainy nights newly-awakened lungfish start slithering out of their walls. Altogether charming!

Use Lungfish’s spiritual essence to help you spend most of your time totally lacking in ambition or motivation, thrashing around at rare intervals just barely enough to survive. Lungfish energy will help you encase yourself during your periods of lethargy, though instead of hardened mucous, your “shell” will be made of emotional numbness, or possibly aluminum foil. Call on Lungfish to help you pop out of nowhere into the lives of long-lost lovers and childhood friends, shouting, “Hi! I’m here to spawn!” Just like Lungfish, you’ll leave memories that never fade, even with the help of pharmaceuticals.

Check out our Lungfish friends here:

Lame Animal Totem: Millipede

MillipedeI know we’d all love to have a porcupine that jumps around and seems to flee from invisible foes as our spirit animal, but that’s just too bad—you can’t always get what you want. This month’s Lame Animal Totem is the millipede…specifically the kind captured by ring-tailed lemurs, who squeeze the millipedes until they exude a poisonous liquid. The lemurs rub the millipede venom on their fur, then stagger around with glazed eyes, foaming happily at the mouth. They carefully release the millipedes back into the wild to continue doing what millipedes do best: producing more venom and having feet. Many, many feet.

If your spirit animal is the millipede, no one likes you. Some people may appear friendly, but they just want to goad you into doing that thing you do, so that they can send you away, rub each other’s backs, and gossip about your toxicity.

Use millipede energy to nurse your grievances into huge deposits of rage, self-pity, and all other forms of emotional poison. This may attract someone whose spirit animal is the ring-tailed lemur, and they may squeeze you, and this will probably be the closest you’ll ever get to a fulfilling sexual relationship. If they don’t let you go afterward, put your foot down. They may stomp on it, but don’t worry. You have plenty more.

Lame Animal Totem: Gnu

gnuCompared to former Lame Animal Totems, such as the blobfish, this month’s winner is downright fetching. Compared to most animals, however, it is not. I speak of the the gnu (wildebeest), an antelope that looks as if it were assembled by a committee of people deeply angry at each other, and which could not win a battle of wits with a cantaloupe.

If wildebeest is your totem, you wield the awesome power of extreme awkwardness and profound stupidity combined. Use gnu energy at parties, driving others away from your favorite foods with your honking voice, lack of focus, and random, frightening bursts of sprinting. As a gnu person you should party often, because you’ll probably die young. No worries, though; you’ll leave behind approximately four hundred descendants. Your funeral will be a poignant festival of honking, butting, and sprinting into walls, though none of your descendants will be bright enough to recall what they’re doing there.

Lame Animal Totem: Passenger Pigeon

Happy-Go-Lucky in a Dangerous World
I’m into Passenger Pigeons this month because their closest relatives—Band-Tailed Pigeons—have been showing up at my bird feeders. Scientists are now asking people (this means you!) to put up feeders, because human interference appears to be killing off all birds, everywhere. Buzz-kill, huh? But wait! It gets worse!

Passenger Pigeons were once the most abundant birds in North America, so numerous that flocks of them could darken the entire sky. They were also very friendly, so people used to club thousands of them a day, just to pass the time (this was before YouTube). This continued with undimmed enthusiasm until 1914, when the very last Passenger Pigeon died in captivity. Her name was Miss Martha. (Coincidence? Yes.)

But I digress. If your totem animal is the Passenger Pigeon, you are happy-go-lucky to the point of insanity. You walk through dangerous neighborhoods in nothing but swimwear, carrying wads of cash in your outstretched hands. You accept massages from maximum-security prisoners. You’re sure that your neighborhood serial killer just needs a little yoga, maybe someone to hold a space when he gets triggered. You may well be dead.

Use Passenger Pigeon energy to feel blithely unconcerned during medical testing and political elections. Call on it to help you accept abuse, agree with psychopaths, and always, always blame yourself. And as you hang up your own bird feeder near your own home (please!) expect the spirit of Passenger Pigeon to remind you that it is good to be innocent and hopeful, even in a dangerous world.

Lame Animal Totem: Gophers

unnamed-4Gophers are dirt-brown rodents with tiny eyes who hoard food in their large, fur-lined cheek pouches, bite aggressively when threatened, and use their hairy tails to feel around when they walk backward through their subterranean tunnels. In other words, they’re just like your Aunt Helga. (Remember Helga? She used to come over a lot when you were little, before she went to prison. She taught you to chew tobacco.)

If, like Helga, you have the Gopher as your totem animal, you like to undermine others and back out of commitments at the last minute, by the hair of your tail. You appear torpid and sluggish, but can deliver a mean comment like a chomp to the ankle of anyone who offends you. When Gopher energy tunnels up into your life, you’ll have extra enthusiasm for playing dirty, stealing, ruining projects, and hoarding other people’s possessions. Enjoy all the vindictive joy Gopher brings to your life. Keep it in your large, fur-lined cheek pouches.

Lame Animal Totem: The Blobfish

blobfishThe Blobfish is a creature made of gelatinous tissue that allows it to float around the deep ocean floor, compensating for near-total lack of muscle by being totally nondiscriminating in its eating habits. Sound like you? Quelle coincidence! You and I have the same totem animal this month!

Blobfish energy is flaccid, weak-willed, and…I don’t know, whatever. When Blobfish floops and plurbles up through the plumbing of your subconscious and into the toilet bowl of your conscious attention, it’s time to relinquish all resolve, put on your bathrobe, and eat every last bit of pudding in the fridge.  If you can’t find pudding, eat…you know, whatever.

Call on Blobfish for help when you feel too energized, focused, and successful, which is just annoying to the rest of us. Blobfish will drag you right back down to a place where you inspire no envy or competition, where you can spend entire weekends just gloomily watching your thighs age. Then, like me, you can pass along to the world the ringing message at the core of your life:  Um…like, you know, whatever.

Lame Animal Totem: Tardigrade

tardigradeThe Tardigrade is a truly wondrous creature: an eight-legged microscopic beastie also known as the “moss piglet” that can go without food or water for more than ten years, live in the vacuum of space, stew in boiling water, and keep waddling onward, good as new. 
Tardigrade energy is the totem of people who just will not freaking STOP, the spirit animal of all who believe everyone needs to hear about their gruesome dental history, their endless arguments with ex-spouses, the exploits of their moss-piglet children. 
Which reminds me: Tardigrade is also the totem of Things That Aren’t As Cute As You Think. When Tardigrade blubs into the mucous membranes of your life, ask a non-Tardigrade person if your favorite rhinestone sports bra really fits in at the elder-care center, how coworkers genuinely feel about your compulsion to massage them, and whether anyone but you thinks it’s adorable when your puppy screams like a child. If the message is STOP, do so, even though Tardigrade will tell you to go on, and on, and on, and on….

Lame Animal Totem: Turducken

Turducken is a dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a deboned turkey. If turducken is your totem animal, you have multiple layers of limp energy with no solid internal structure whatsoever.  

Turducken energy is complicated, overstuffed, and excessive. When Turducken waddles onto your table, you can be sure your goose is cooked on many levels. For example,

you may be trapped in a terrible relationship, unrewarding job, or unsatisfying ménage a trois because you lack the backbone God gave your feathered brethren. Call on Turducken to help you absorb the toxic vibes of your oversharing coworker. Muffle the unkind barbs of your in-laws between your layers like so much cornbread stuffing. Drown the lamentations of your detractors in your rich, succulent juices. They won’t have the strength to protest, because you’re so damn tasty.

Lame Animal Totem: Aardwolf

The Aardwolf, as I’m sure you know, is a stripy hyena-like creature from Africa that can excrete a full tenth of its body weight in one magnificent defecation. (How much would you excrete if you were an Aardwolf?  Would it be more or less than you can lift?)

A single Aardwolf can consume a quarter of a million termites in one night. Along the way, it slurps up a lot of sand and other assorted detritus, much like a child in Sunday school learning that God is infinitely compassionate, and will curse all who break certain dietary restrictions.

If you’ve inhaled a lot of B.S. on your journey through life, the Aardwolf may be your totem. Let Aardwolf’s energy perform a high colonic on you at all levels: emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical. That’s right! Just dump it! Let Aardwolf cheer you on!

If not, don’t be surprised when people tell you that you’re full of crap. One day, you’ll look up to see Aardwolf, his stripy back, his high cackle, his world-class large intestine, encouraging you to let it go. Let it all go.