Monday, March 8, 2010

The Wily Mongoose

Intern is buried up to his nose right now in the physical archives of 10 years of columns while I sort through ten years of electronic files. I hear a lot of sneezing. He's having a hard time with 2007. I asked him what could I have been doing that year that the files are so poorly organized? He answered dryly, "I don't know. A lot of cocaine?" (He's kidding. He knows I'm monogamous with the Ambien.)

I ran across this from October 2001. I have this vague recollection that it was the year I suffered the tortures of the damned over multiple suitors. I'm most always a serial monogamist, but that's interrupted by periods of volume dating where I investigate the landscapes. I had divided the final two that year into the Lion and the Mongoose.
"Lions see what they want. They run it down and eat it. Their assets are obvious: strength, speed, size, agility. Then there are the ones who get by on their wits, like the mongoose. Not exactly imposing, but wily. Clever. As Kipling put it, 'It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose. The motto of the mongoose is 'run and find out!'  The Lions are the ones who lick your neck at parties. (I don't really see that as a sign of affection, I think they're just marking their turf.) They chase off all would-be intruders. The mongoose on the other hand, is usually the last man standing."

 Or as Hop Sing put it, "your Mongoose is the one who stands back and says with some pride, 'I can take more of her shit than all the rest of you combined... I win.' (Maybe a dubious distinction, but I remember it was meant as a compliment.) As he put it, the breed might not fight, but in terms of sheer staying power, the Mongoose can outlast every last one of them.

(I do know what happened to that Mongoose. I also know what happened to the Lion. Mostly I still miss Hop Sing.)

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