Monday, November 7, 2016

Animal verbs

Animals are basic part of human existence and vocabulary.  Even in our modern era, small children immediately learn words to distinguish animals from people.  So, it is no wonder that many animals have lent their name to a behavior, albeit without their permission.

The farmyard is the dream place for behaviorists.  They can see horses horse around, running and mock fighting as well as pigs pig out, eating all they can. If those horses get lazy, dogs will dog them while hounds will hound them to get them moving again. Not all is fun and games. The goat goats you while the ram rams you for no reason at all, not to mention the goose goosing you, which can give you quite a jump. It is not all that wonderful for the animals, to tell the truth.  The cows feel cowed by just about everything despite their large size while chickens chicken out from any confrontation from a non-fowl, maybe for a good reason. All this action is at the doorstep of farmer.

Not that is much quieter in the wild. The weasel try to weasel his way into anywhere there is food, using his intelligence. The hawk hawks all the best food for himself, often being the apex bird of prey. The wolf wolves down its food since it has to share it with its group. A buffalo can buffalo its way into any field. By contrast, a fox has to outfox its prey or dies. A duck ducks when it hears a rifle shot, as it should. On a more relaxed level, monkeys monkey around when they are not looking for food, as when an ape apes a behavior, imitating it. Those deer are just as active. Bucks buck the system and try to steal away the does while fawns fawn to those same does to ensure that they receive milk and protection. Parrots parrot the behavior of other animals to gain an advantage.  We won't even talk about what the bears bear.

Don't underestimate the insect kingdom.  As anybody who has ever tried to take a nap during the day, flies fly, making it sometimes hard to kill them. Worms can generally worm themselves into anywhere, including our skin. Leaches, both the insect and people versions, leech our energy and health. These critters are not friendly.

So, the next time you are slothful, are tired of the bull or even in a foul or catty mood, look outside in the yard or at a nature documentary.  You will realize that, as they say in that awful British commercial for a credit company, you are not alone. 

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