• Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson Weaver • Something Furry This Way comes

When I was a little kid, I took great joy in being an animal.

I don’t mean toward my Sister the Troll, although she likely considered me some sort of rabid, feral beast most of the time; that’s what little brothers do when they sense a big sister’s final nerve, and absolutely have to pounce on it.

No, I mean when I was at the age where kids are supposed to have the most fun, I was an animal.


Today I might be a bear. Tomorrow, possibly a lion hunting the plains of Africa. Next week I might be a buffalo. If there was a good tree handy, I could be a coon, a possum or a squirrel. During the dinosaur period, I was a T-rex or a stegosaurus a time or two, and as the dinosaur time slipped away I might have been a wooly mammoth, a saber-tooth cat, or some other Ice Age beast. I knew a girl who decided she was a goldfish between first and second grade, and walked around opening her mouth like her goldfish. She wanted to marry her goldfish when she got old enough.

I may have been a chubby little kid without many friends but I had a big imagination and a mostly-tolerant family.

I see no problem with little kids being animals, dinosaurs or birds if they so wish.

I have a major problem with teens and college kids living as animals after they decide that they “identify” as animals.

That’s just silly. I can identify as a healthy thirty-year-old who never smoked cigarettes, never had a badly broken leg or an injured back, and lives the high life off the residuals of his bestselling novels -- but that doesn’t make it the truth. I’m instead a 56-year-old two-pack puffer with a slightly bent left leg, two bum knees, a thing in my spine that fascinates doctors until I run out of money and insurance, and I support my family off a country newspaperman’s salary. With a few notable exceptions, I wouldn’t change a thing, but that’s neither here nor there.

In case you missed it, there’s a growing trend where people decide that they are “furries.” I don’t mean hirsute fellows like myself who nod politely as they walk past the barber, and don’t remember how to use a razor. These people decide that they are animals.

Now I will admit, I have been known to smell like a coyote, possum, skunk or goat from time to time, but it wasn’t entirely by design, and it wasn’t something I enjoyed. Well, not very much. Okay, I liked it. But it sure didn’t make me want to become one of those critters.

These furry people might be dogs, cats, wolves, horses, or any number of other things, real or imagined. They adopt behaviors such as talking in meows and other animal noises, walking around on all fours, and using a litter box instead of a toilet.

When I hear of such things, all I can do is look longingly to Heaven and ask Jesus to hurry up and come back.

If someone wants to live a fantasy life, that’s their business. But when the taxpayers have to install and maintain litterboxes in schools (California) and hunters are warned to stay off public lands because twenty-somethings are playing wolf (Idaho) and girlfriends are leading their boyfriends down the street in a dog collar, leash and “Service Dog” vest (Wilmington), there is something wrong.

What really gets me is how many parents are enabling this foolishness. Heck, I can’t understand any parent doing so, but that’s just me. Mamas and daddies are supposed to be preparing their kids for the real world, not setting them up to go to the animal shelter or abandoned beside a country road.

From the perspective of the furries, however, I can see the appeal.

I think I could deal with identifying as a dog. My dogs lay around in the house or the sunshine all day. They only bathe when it’s necessary (ie, when we can con them into the bathtub.) They eat a good breakfast every day, and have snacks along the way. Bones and leftovers from supper are evenly apportioned. They bark furiously when they so desire. Humans step in and stop it whenever there is a fight. They get loved on approximately 23 hours of every day. And they get the best parts of the bed. That’s a good life. Maybe that’s why most dogs are so happy all the time.

My goats may have it even better. They eat, wander, bounce, play, (forgive me) have sex, and headbutt things they don’t like. If they don’t want to stay in the fence, they break out and go elsewhere. They eat everything they want, when they want it. Sure, the males stink sometimes, but let’s not get personal. All guys smell bad sometimes.

My donkeys have it pretty good, too. Again, there’s the whole eating and sleeping thing. Neither of them cares about what goats love the most, so there’s no tension there. They lie in the sun and roll in the dust. They get treats. They get brushed, rubbed and groomed. They get hugged multiple times a day, often by strangers. Faking a minor injury keeps them from having to work. And they can kick anything they don’t like into the next county.

When it comes to my geese, they have it made. They can poop anywhere they wish. They have their own pool that gets cleaned every day or so. Everything and everybody fears them. You have to admit, that’s an advantage in today’s world.

My cats? Well, they get to hunt whenever they wish. They have good food they didn’t pay for, and they can turn their noses up at it. They can stretch out in the sunshine and spend the afternoon napping. That’s not a bad life when you get right down to it.

How about being a beaver? You get to smell good. You have to be fat to survive. You can swim 365 days a year. And everybody admires you for your fur. True, there are a half-dozen or more species that want you for your hide, meat, castoreum and teeth, and you have to work hard, but that work involves playing in the mud all day and cutting down trees.

As appealing as some of these things may be, they cannot be reality.

We’re humans. Know who else is a human? The girl who identifies as a wolf and has a transgender friend who identifies as a dragon (the wolf was interviewed on TV a while back.) The boy who decided that he’s a dog, and therefore doesn’t have to attend school. The girl who meows and hisses and purrs with her friends as their own language, and has a collection of cat ears to attach to her head when they go to nightclubs. I don’t think my cats would enjoy a nightclub.

You can call yourself what you want, and I am fine with that. It’s your choice.

But I am not going to agree with you. In fact, if you get too rambunctious about it, I might trick you into the kennel with a leash, and drop you off at the animal shelter.

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