Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If I Only Had A Tail

Giving the calf his bottle yesterday evening, (Is it as redundant for you as it is for me?) and I was watching his tail wave back and forth, back and forth, ding dong, ding dong. Thinking to myself "What if I had a tail?" Not like a little cocker spaniel tail either, like a big Labrador retriever tail. Then I thought "I've wondered this before. What is wrong with me that I wonder about such things?"

But a tail is an expressive thing. You can say a lot with a tail.
Not sure what the calf was saying, probably something like "drinkin' my milk, drinkin' my milk, la la lala."

Dogs are usually pretty obvious. (Anybody out there want a dog? I'm serious.) They can get that tail going so hard and fast that it's a full body movement. They can tuck it under. They can raise it high for youknowwhat-sniffing. It says 'I'm happy,' 'I'm scared,' 'I'm warning you,' 'I'm resting, but I'm not sleeping so if you're thinking about doing something fun, I'm ready so don't do it without me.' The list goes on.

Cats have an extensive repertoire, too. The tail greets you, snubs you, scares you a little. It's fun to watch when they're concentrating on whatever they're 'hunting,' all wiggly squiggly with tension before they spring like a mighty puma on that scrap of yarn.

I appreciate the horse's tail when they're not whipping me across the eyeballs with it. The tail is a great indicator of the mood they're in and what they're thinking about doing, e.g. nipping you or kicking out at something. I also like when they're out running in the field, just because they feel good, and their tails are hoisted up in the air like flags. That is exactly what I would do with my tail when I was galloping. If I had one.

You know what else I just realized? Since we've been talking about the bees lately. They don't really have tails per se, but they do use their rear ends to do those bee dances that tell all the other bees where the nectar and pollen is located. If I'm not mistaken, they even get as detailed in their descriptions as to indicate whether it's a small supply or the mother load. Insert 'smart ass' pun here.

So I was wondering (in a non-Darwinian way) why we don't have tails. If we did have tails, would it be something we'd be required to cover with clothing or could we let it hang out like bare arms and legs? Would it get its own sleeve or would we just tuck it in to our pants or dress? Would we have tail envy? What about fat people tails or anorexic super model tails? Ew!
Would we be able to fake a tail wag like we fake a polite smile? Or would it give away our true feelings? And then I was thinking about how it's almost like we have an invisible psychic tail anyway. How many times has your spouse, friend,or child had their back to you but you can still 'see' that ornery twinkle? I guess a tail would just make polite society a little trickier. And flirting less subtle. And poker games tougher? Or easier?

Phew! Deep thoughts indeed.


Becky said...

Ha! You know, I have never, ever thought about this.

But I think our tails would give us away. It's hard enough to control your facial expressions. I'm sure we'd be wagging when we meant to seem nonchalant. Like during real estate negotiations.

Camp Papa said...

I wouldn't want one of those bushy-you-know-what-I'm-thinking kinds of tails. I'd go for function rather than communication. I might like to have a prehensile monkey sort of third hand sort of tail, or maybe a huge flat and hairy tail like a giant anteater so I'd always have a built-in shade.

Amy said...

Ok, this is one of the reasons why we all want to adopt you into our family, Sara. I have never thought about this either!

But I think it could make marital arguments/discussions more interesting. As in, Jason would be like, "Oh man, her tail is flicking back and forth, she must be really pissed." I would like one that I could use as an extra hand--like to carry the baby carseat and hold the other two kids' hands. LOL I'm gonna go through my day thinking about how a tail could come in handy. (Ha ha! I made a pun.)

Emily said...

Simply astounding.

Sara said...

Aha! I *could* be embarrassed that no one ever thought of this along with me, but you all stepped up to the plate pretty quickly with excellent tail ideas.
You pretty much rock.
CP & Amy, I was missing so many other tail types! Function indeed!
(And aw shucks! I feel kind of adopted by you all and it makes me blush and grin--look out, i'm like that cat you started feeding...)

honeypiehorse said...

Huh. I think we kind of used to. But they were mostly fur. And our pinkies used to be bigger.