What Kind of Animal Are You?

007My former supervisor was the best boss–intelligent, compassionate and an awesome manager. We were lucky to have him.

His one misstep was an ice-breaker activity designed to energize us at the start of a dreary staff meeting. We were each given a paper with four questions printed on it. We wrote our name at the top and returned them to our amazing director who distributed them randomly. We each answered one question on the sheet we got. They were then collected and redistributed three more times until each question was filled in. At the end, fabulous boss handed our pages back to us so we could read the “fun” anonymous comments written about us by our co-workers.

The only question I remember is: What kind of animal are you?

This question offers great potential for offense as most people (if they’re in to comparing themselves to animals) see themselves as noble creatures like dolphins or stallions and will be annoyed when told not everyone shares this vision. No one compares him/herself to a slug or a vulture in much the same way that people remembering past life experiences are always nobles or minor royalty. Nobody admits to being a petty criminal or a politician in a past life.

I got: a beautiful, sensuous Persian kitten who loves to be stroked. Ewww!

Shortly after this staff meeting, a co-worker with whom I had very little contact invited me to lunch.

She was waiting for me when I arrived at the restaurant.

“Did you call me a sloth?” she demanded before I’d even taken off my coat.

Where the hell did that come from? I giggled because (true confession) now that she mentioned it, I noticed she was somewhat sloth-like.

She huffed. “Someone at the staff meeting said I was a sloth. I said you were a Persian kitten.”

“That was you?” Ewww!

She nodded. “I was positive, but other people were mean and nasty.”

I have my suspicions about who called this woman a sloth, but I’m not telling.

This ice breaker led me to wonder what kind of animals my loved ones are. Naturally the first loved one who comes to mind is my sailor.

I could say he’s an orca whale–beautiful, intelligent, athletic, a gentle ruler of the Pacific Ocean. He’d probably like that. I could also say he’s a grey wolf–sleek, strong, loyal to his pack, a team player. I bet he’d like that, too.

But I’m going with a barnacle even though my sailor might not be thrilled about it. They’re strong and steady and any relationship with a barnacle is permanent. Think about it, they have be literally scraped off the hulls of ships. When they commit, they COMMIT. There’s something reassuring about that steadfastness in our culture of quickie divorces.

I googled barnacles to check for negative connotations. It turns out that barnacles have the longest penis in relation to their body size of any species. Hmmm–my sailor might like this comparison after all.

What kind of animal are you?

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