One is the loneliest number, especially if you’re a sugar glider.

This weekend I heard the saddest thing I’ve ever heard ever. Ready?

OK, it’s not the saddest thing I’ve ever heard ever. I AM EXAGGERATING. But it totally made me have tears. But I’m insanely hormonal so EVERYTHING makes me have tears lately. Like those stupid Google commercials where they’re all “the internet is what you make of it” and people are watching their friends’ kids from a million miles away take their first steps or whatever. STOP IT GOOGLE. YOU ARE KILLING ME. What do you MEAN those aren’t even that sad and I might want to visit Dr. Ernie about this insane hormonal influx I have going on. LEAVE ME ALONE NOW I’M CRYING AGAIN.

So I went to see a play this weekend and a friend was there with a friend of hers so we all sat together and that was nice. Look at me, being all social! And I don’t even think I was overly a weirdo. Maybe only like 30% a weirdo. That’s a low number for me. Luckily we didn’t have a lot of socializing time, so that cut my weirdo-time down considerably. And they did a lot of the talking, so that also took a nice little bite out of the weirdo-time. You’ll also be pleased to know I only took my phone out TWO TIMES. I mean, you can’t expect me to NEVER take it out. I had to APPROVE BLOG COMMENTS. I mean, I’m not a SAINT.

Anyway, we were talking about animals, because the friend and I are total cat people and she’s buying a house soon so she can get more cats (MOAR CATS!) (wait, that made it sound like that’s WHY she’s buying the house, no no, she’s buying the house so she can have a HOME, and the cats are an added dash of awesome) and somehow that segued over to a mutual acquaintance who likes exotic pets.

“He had a sugar glider once,” she said. “He carried it around in a little pouch. He kept forgetting to bring it places with him, though, and it died of loneliness.”

“WHAT?” I said. “Sugar gliders can DIE OF LONELINESS?”

“Apparently so,” she said.

“THAT IS THE SADDEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD,” I said. Loudly. Which is my default setting when something is that upsetting, and which I think scared the people around us in the seats in the theater, but whatever, IT WAS TRUE. “There’s an ANIMAL that can DIE of LONELINESS?”

“Imagine if humans had that problem,” she said.

That’s the PROBLEM. I WAS imagining that. First, I was imagining the poor sugar glider, who – wait, have you even SEEN a sugar glider? Back when I was a wee Amy who worked at a vet’s office, one of our clients had sugar gliders so I saw them on a regular basis, but it just crossed my mind you might not even have a mental image of one. I mean, just the name alone is adorable, right? But you might not have SEEN one. Here. HERE.

This makes you even sadder when you think about death by loneliness, doesn't it? I KNOW.

This is a sugar glider. Also, they totally glide from tree to tree with skin flaps under their arms and legs. THEY ARE THE BOMB YO.

But anyway, this seemed suspect. An animal? That died of LONELINESS? No. That couldn’t possibly be true. Right? RIGHT?

(Also, I can’t confirm or deny that I totally got tears in my eyes AT THE THEATER thinking of the damn lonely dead sugar glider, all wasting away Victorian-lady style because he had no one to love. DAMMIT SUGAR GLIDER. And DAMMIT HORMONES.)

So I researched it today.

And…yeah. Sugar gliders can TOTALLY DIE OF LONELINESS.

Per Gliderpedia (heh), we get this gem:

“It is unnatural for a glider to ever be alone, and unfair to force solitude upon your pet. When housed alone, gliders are likely to become depressed, withdrawn, even defensive, and may refuse to eat and could eventually die from loneliness!”

DIE FROM LONELINESS! With an EXCLAMATION POINT! That’s how you KNOW it could totally happen. ZOMG. With extra ZZZZZs, you guys.

Now, this site says they don’t think sugar gliders die from ACTUAL loneliness. Just the hunger strikes brought on BY loneliness. Also, lonely sugar gliders become manic-depressive. So probably they do a lot of crafts, then sleep a lot, I don’t know. I have my knowledge of manic-depression from some Meredith Baxter-Birney TV movie from the 80s.

“We see the sadness that happens when a companion glider has to be relocated either due to medical reasons or demise.  The sole remaining glider often becomes abject and sometimes even a bit frantic.”

And this site (which is a dog breeding site, that’s kind of confusing, sugar gliders aren’t dogs) says:

“A lonely sugar glider deprived of social interaction will not  thrive. They will become depressed and lonely, which can cause them to die.”


OK, I always totally wanted a sugar glider because LOOK AT THAT FACE but I could never have an animal that had the potential to die from loneliness, never. You’d have to have at least two of them, right? And what if one died. Then you’d have to SCRAMBLE to get another one, just SCRAMBLE. Because then LONELINESS CRUSHING LONELINESS. And also manic-depression.

Then seriously, back to what I mentioned a million words ago, WHAT IF THIS HAPPENED TO PEOPLE. What if we DIED OF LONELINESS. Seriously. I think there wouldn’t even be a overpopulation issue. I think we are, as a species, often extremely lonely. Even in crowds. Even while with our loved ones, in some cases. THIS IS JUST THE WORST.

I’m totally going to stop thinking about this because it’s making me sugar-glider depressed. What. That’s a thing. I think that needs to be a thing. Everyone start saying that because it needs to be a thing. Like, it SOUNDS cute, but it’s totally not. IT LEADS TO ALL THE DEATH.

Then last week I found out that the entire internet knew that armadillos were all filled with leprosy. Why didn’t any of you think to tell me that armadillos are filled with all the leprosy? You didn’t think that I’d find that utterly fascinating? I mean, I love animals, and weird science shit, and A Prayer for Owen Meany is MY FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME and you didn’t even think to SHARE that ARMADILLOS were LEPROUS? I mean, seriously, you all dropped the ball, here. I had to find it out by EAVESDROPPING on TWITTER. Well, I guess it wasn’t really eavesdropping, the people didn’t seem to mind that I was butting in to be all, “Whaaa? Leprous armadillos?” but STILL. Tsk. TSK!

No, seriously, the armadillos are leprous, it’s not even a joke. Here’s an article. But here’s the thing. Now, in my totally intense fifteen minutes or so of research into this situation, I found out the following: armadillos are indigenous to the United States. Leprosy is NOT indigenous to the United States. Leprosy was brought by settlers TO the United States. Armadillos (and a few other animals) are among the non-humans who can be infected by and carry leprosy. At some point, leprosy was transmitted to an armadillo, and it’s been passed down, armadillo to armadillo, ever since.

So normal people would be all, huh, interesting. But here’s where my mind went.


Research tells me it is NOT an STD like I thought it was. Doesn’t it seem like it should be? I often make shit up in my head, though. So that’s good. I was totally going to a scary bestiality place. WHOO. It apparently is transmitted by breathing. So someone BREATHED on an armadillo, turning that armadillo into a little Typhoid Mary of armadillos, making him or her pass it along to generations upon generations of little armadillos and armadillettes? (Don’t even, I KNOW THAT’S NOT THE SCIENTIFIC TERM. I just like how it sounded. All pretty-like. Like the armadillette was wearing a petticoat. Spellcheck wants that to be “artillerymen.” NO SPELLCHECK. That is NOT AT ALL WHAT I MEANT.)

Anyway, I find this all very distressing, and apparently people are EATING ARMADILLOS and then getting leprosy from them and there are warnings all, “hey, how about not nomming on armadillos” and WHO IS DOING THIS. Stop eating armadillos. Look at this little face. Why are you hungry for this?

Aw! Little prehistoric cutie! "Don't eat me!" says little leprous armadillo!

OK, so this has been SINGULARLY depressing. Dead sugar gliders. Leprous armadillos. WE NEED TO END ON A HIGH NOTE.

It is time to break out the Poing.

Poing, you ask? What is this Poing you speak of? Perhaps it is a naughty euphemism? NO IT IS NOT. Minds, get out of the gutter.

Poing is a community in Germany. Ken apparently visits on a regular basis.  Can we just remark on that name for a minute? No, not KEN, Ken is a very NICE name, but it’s not something we have to REMARK on, now IS it. No, I mean Poing. POING. How could you even SAY such a name without grinning? It’s like a bounce of a word, isn’t it? Poing. Poing. Poing.

Now, listen, I was going to make you all go to Ken’s photo site to look at a photo he took for me today of Poing when he realized I’d oddly become obsessed with it because when I went to the site to gank his photo the site was all “NO TOUCHING!” and wouldn’t let me gank. No, no, it was OK, he gave me PERMISSION, you guys. I would NEVER steal photos that Ken took without permission. But then KEN EMAILED ME THE PHOTO. From TWO ANGLES. So I could choose BETWEEN THEM. AS IF I WERE A SERIOUS BLOGGER. I’m so not even joking right now, you all need a Ken. He’s really the best thing. (THANK YOU KEN!!!)


What I like about this (I mean, obviously, other than the POING) is the little totally scary graphic illustration under the fancy German clock. Look at that guy! I think he is falling into a train? Not under, or in front of, but SMACK INTO THE SIDE. After squeeing delightedly about the sign that said Poing that made it totally more real and not just a thing that Ken may or may not have made up for funsies, I giggled about Mr. Unsure on His Feet So He Totally Smacked Into the Side of a Damn Train for like twenty minutes in the grocery store parking lot.

Things I learned about Poing today once I found out that such a place existed:

Wikipedia says Poing is a “community” but also that it is a “village.” I like that Poing is two things. I am ALSO a number of things. You can make up what they are in your head. (Please be nice.)

According to the interwebs, “Poing has two constituent communities named Angelbrechting and Grub.” Not ONLY is it called Poing, it has a CONSTITUENT COMMUNITY named GRUB. I’m totally moving to Poing. Or maybe Grub.

There are things in Poing like trains, a mayor named Albert, and the printing company that made the shitty copier that always breaks down in my office. Also, they have a COAT OF ARMS. Poing is very fancy, you guys.


Although Ken visits Poing on what seems to be a regular basis, he has not thought to inform me until recently that IN Poing there is a wildlife park where animals can RUN AROUND FREE, also probably AMOK, and you can FEED THEM. I know. It was really remiss of him not to mention it sooner. Probably he was too busy just repeating the word Poing over and over. I forgive him. I’d be doing that too. I’m doing it right now, actually. Poing. Poing. Therefore, you all have to forgive him as well. YOU DO. It is the RULE. He EMAILED me a PHOTO. I mean, who does that? The nicest person ever in the history of ever? I’d say yes.

What? You’re asking. Amy! Back to the task at hand! Is there a WEBSITE? Where I can see PHOTOS of ADORABLE GERMAN ANIMALS?


It is all in German, which makes me feel very international and cosmopolitan.

Apparently, things you can see at the Wildpark Poing are frolicking bears (Braunbären! UMLAUT!), wolves (Wölfe – ANOTHER UMLAUT!), lynx (Luchse!) and then a bunch of other animals like foxes and muskrats and owls. I was VERY CONFUSED by this section of the website because it was a lot of random animals under one heading that said “Tiere” and I thought, “how can ONE WORD describe the awesomeness of ALL THESE ANIMALS” then I translated it and “Tiere” means “animals.” OK, then, mystery SOLVED. Take THAT, Cumberbatch.

Also, there are sections of photos that are just the best things ever that are titled “Wölfe im Schnee,” etc. that are the animals PLAYING IN THE SNOW. I’m certainly going to assume that Schnee means snow. And Google Translate says it DOES. Listen, this website is really furthering my quest to win German, I can’t even tell you. Until you have seen Luchse im Schnee you probably aren’t having a very good day. Go check that out, I’ll wait here.

(It was joyous, right? It totally was. You can admit it. WHAT? You didn’t CLICK? FINE. HERE.)

Aw! Look what Poing has! LOOKIE LOOKIE! That left-hand Luchse is LAUGHING!

So I’m pretty sure my next plan in life is that I’m moving to Poing and I’m going to go work at the Wildpark Poing and play im Schnee with the Luchse which may or may not eat my face but think of how happy I’d be pre-face-eating! (Ken, feel free to correct my capitalization. I don’t understand why some things are capitalized in German and some are not. It seems arbitrary. We need to have a discussion about this at some point.) Also, were I in Poing, I could visit Grub, and Ken could come over and we could chat about things IN PERSON. I know! Are you so shocked at this fancy life I would live? You shouldn’t be. This is, I’m quite sure, how life IS in Poing!

Now I am feeling much cheered after my sad foray into lonely dead sugar gliders and leprous armadillos. SUCH IS THE MAGIC OF POING.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

39 responses to “One is the loneliest number, especially if you’re a sugar glider.

  • elaine4queen

    if wordpress comments were more html friendly i would break out the glitter letters for POING and also for SCHNEE which is one of my favourite german words.

    another whole phrase that i know is schmetterling kuss which means butterfly kiss.


  • sj

    1. It seems that sugar gliders are the Tolkien elves of the animal ‘verse.


    3. Why is it BESTiality and not BEASTiality? That has always bothered me. Like, it makes it sound like having sex with animals is just the best thing ever when it’s not. It’s gross. I mean, maybe it is the best thing ever, but I would never know because IT’S GROSS.

    4. Nouns are capitalized auf Deutsch. Their gender determines whether they begin with der (masculine), die (feminine) or das (neuter).


    • sj

      ps. Approving blog comments at the theatre FTW!


    • lucysfootball

      I have GOT to read Lord of the Rings. GOT TO. I really have to stop with the excuses. I’ve read The Hobbit. I have not read, or watched the movies, of The Lord of the Rings. I KNOW. I’m the only person in the WORLD.

      I ALWAYS want to spell it “beastiality” because, well, beasts! And it’s beastly to do it! And you’re right, why’s it best? You KNOW some sheep-screwer took out that extra “a” at some point because he was all, “THIS IS THE BEST AND EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW THAT.”

      That’s the rule? Nouns are capitalized? Now I love German MORE. Of course nouns are capitalized! They SHOULD be! Nouns are IMPORTANT! Thank you so much for this, seriously. It’s been driving me bonkers, trying to figure out what’s capitalized and why!


      • sj

        I’m a little shocked that you’ve never read it. It’s been one of those “read every year” books/series since I was about 8. I do not like the movies, but I recognize that I’m in the minority on that.

        Yes, nouns being capitalized is the rule. Or, that was the way I learned it when I took four years of German in high school (way to take a language you’ll never get to use!). Of course the first word in a sentence is capitalized, but if you ever come across a word in the middle of the sentence capitalized, it’s because it’s a noun. I had a German penpal my sophomore year, and she was the worst with spelling and grammar. I could never really understand what the hell she was talking about because I was learning THE RIGHT WAY TO SPEAK, and she was (apparently) like one of those people I mock on my blog for abusing English…except it was German.


  • Mister Doctor Professor Susurrus M. Chiaroscuro, Esquire

    I love that Chrome offers to translate on my behalf so that I don’t have to learn German just to translate Poing’s Der Wildpark info. . . Plus also, I love the sentences that translation composes:

    “We are also Knut!
    It’s finally here. The bears are there. In the dawn of the 27th March came in the Scandinavian family of bears in Poing. Mother Mia with her ​​three daughters, Maja, Mette and Molly will spend the Easter bear but the bear home to acclimatize, and only then come into the enclosure. For visitors to the park that bears are so sorry to see until after Easter.”



    • lucysfootball

      This made me laugh so, so hard. LOVE THIS.

      “We are also Knut!” …helpful!

      “It’s finally here. The bears are there.” What’s here? Where are the bears? This is confusing.

      “will spend the Easter bear, but the bear home to acclimatize” – it’s like they put “bear” in randomly to make the paragraph more bear-centric.


    • lahikmajoe

      ‘We are also Knut!’ has a backstory. You knew it would, didn’t you?

      Several years ago, the Berlin Tierpark welcomed a baby Polar Bear into the world. He was adorable and playful and and and…he was called ‘Knut’.

      The excitement wasn’t just here in Germany. There was press from all over the world taking photos and gushing over this one little bear.

      Wildpark Poing is clearly saying, ‘Hey, if you liked Knut, you’ll love Wildpark Poing.’ IT not a bad argument.

      The translate function you used Jim is really funny…another reason I contend computers can only do so much when it comes to language translation.


  • Roz


    Sugar-gliders: right off the bat, the name should give you a clue about their instability. Sounds to me like a brittle diabetic.

    Leprous armadillos: I know how you feel, Amy. I didn’t know either! Holy Father Damien, Batman!

    Poing is 1,000,000 better than I thought it would be.


    • lucysfootball

      Yay! I’m so glad people liked this post! I loved it SO MUCH when I was writing it. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I like them, sometimes I think, THIS IS CUCKOO-BANANAS AMY. This one, I loved so much. So glad others liked it, too!

      We were the only two to not know about leprous armadillos! Everyone on Twitter seemed to know! It was weird!

      Isn’t Poing the BEST? I’m so going there. My new plan? To win some sort of all-expense-paid trip to Poing. Because I can’t afford international travel. But I CAN enter CONTESTS.


  • Rich Crete

    Thanks for continuing my edumacation. All this time I thought Poing was something Pinky said when expressing astonishment at Brain’s cleverishness.


  • robertgodden

    Your article touches on the wonder of Poing for all of us who follow Ken’s travels and Travails there. In fact, I started visiting a little German tourist town just up the road from my home town (Adelaide Australia) just to replicate that Poing feeling.
    However, I think Ken has an Armadillo Oolong in his cupboard, and that might take some explaining.


    • lahikmajoe

      Why would I need to explain an Armadillo Oolong? It practically speaks for itself.


    • lucysfootball

      I’m sad that I *just* got here for Poing. I feel like I’ve missed a lot of past Poing goodness!

      “That Poing feeling.” I think that’s awesome, and they should probably use it in a marketing campaign. KEN. Go talk to Albert the mayor, I think he’d be glad to hear from you!


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I was thinking about the word tier on the way home from work today. Well, no. Not tier as such, but deer. And the Swedish djur. And how they probably were all the same.

    But by the time I got home, I’d forgotten all about it – until I read your post about the Wildpark Poing! And all the tiere. SO. I wiktionairied it and lo and behold: the English deer comes from the Germanic/Scandian tier/djur, which means that deer means animal. Any animal, not just deer. Well, any mammal anyway.

    Which would explain why roe deer is the English name for the Swedish rådjur. (Incidentally, the Swedish word for deer is hjort.)


    • lucysfootball

      Hjort = the word of the day. I love that.

      Do you think I might have missed my calling and etymology would have been a good profession for me? I love it so. Is that even a profession? Is that something someone can do for a living? How much fun would that be? ALL the fun, is how much!


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Now I’ll have to take baby girl to the local wildlife park so she can see all the lynxes, penguins, emus and pelicans! Would be a shame not to, as she loves animals.


    • lucysfootball

      YAY! That is a girl after my own heart, right there. Who wouldn’t love animals?

      You have a local wildlife park? Why do I live in the only place in the WORLD that doesn’t have ready access to animal viewing? And me, loving animals the most? It is infuriating.


  • lahikmajoe

    There’s so much about this post that I enjoyed, and not just the part having to do with me.

    Sugar gliders are really interesting and adorable, aren’t they? I’ll never forget the first time I saw one. Peculiar animals, but so appealing.

    Animals in snow? Uh, yes of course. But is it the animal in the snow or the fascination with the German word for snow that you’re more excited about? I suppose they could be equally exciting.

    Were I not completely exhausted after the first day in Berlin (and our big collective adventure here), I’d say much more. Just know: I really liked this post.


    • lucysfootball

      I’m so glad you liked it. I was hoping you would.

      Sugar gliders really are one of my favorite creatures. I have always had a secret desire to own one (let’s be frank, we all know I want to own ALL THE ANIMALS EVER) but now that I know they’re so delicate I’m a little wary.

      Both animals in snow and the German for it are equally exciting. I am seriously the most excited about German. I don’t know what’s going on with this. Like, I most seriously entertained the notion of TAKING A GERMAN CLASS recently. No, I’m completely serious. With all that free time I have, you know. It just fascinates me.

      Sleep, you. We have MORE ADVENTURING to do tomorrow!


  • Bronwyn

    thanks! that totally lifted my mood :D


  • lynnettedobberpuhl

    Thank you for introducing me to sugar gliders. I want to adopt one. I know a sad story about a family whose pet gecko disappeared one day and months later, they found it, rolled up in a sleeping bag from a slumber party held the night it vanished. It had expired. When thinking about it makes me want to claw the air around me in sympathetic claustrophobia, I comfort myself by thinking at least it was warm and cozy.

    In German, the first word of the sentences and all the nouns are capitalized. (Sorry if that was already explained.)


    • lucysfootball

      Aren’t sugar gliders adorable? The woman who used to bring them to the vet’s office let me touch one. They’re very soft, too. But apparently, very high-maintenance. That would make me way, way too nervous.

      Aw, gecko! That is awful! :(


  • Handflapper

    YOUR favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany? MY favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany! That armadillo must not have ever had leprosy or John Irving would have been sure to mention it. I mean, he went on and ON about that armadillo.

    I will so go to Poing with you. I’ve always wanted to go to a nature preserve where the animals went amok. Well, actually, I did go to one, once, a long time ago, when I was a little girl, but all the animals seemed to be hiding that day, because I didn’t see any, and my mother bought a set of little elephants made of ivory from the gift shop which today seems highly ironic.


    • lucysfootball

      See? We are totally top-secret internet BFFs. How else do you explain us both having the same favorite book? Which is the best book ever, BTW. He DID go on and on about that armadillo. I don’t think armadillos had leprosy back when that was written. Or, at least, people didn’t know about it.

      Poing is magical. I think we should all go. Those animals need to be seen.

      There were ivory animals in the gift shop? That seems both irresponsible AND awesome!


  • anirrationalratio

    I wonder if people know their town/city/village/bend-in-the-road has a weird name when they name it?
    Banff, weird; Poing, weird; Fucking, weird; Birr, weird; Wallop, weird and the list goes on and on and on!!
    Sure, maybe the words are only weird in other languages or hundreds of years after it’s establishment but there must be at least one place that just thought “screw it, let’s call our town something people will laugh about!”.

    The loneliness thing DOES explain why people carry their sugar gliders around with them. I always wondered about that.


  • An Open Letter to People Who Find my Blog Accidentally (Volume 33) | Lucy’s Football

    […] poing plan WILDPARK POING! Listen. I have not yet given up my plan of seeing Wildpark Poing someday. I don’t believe in bucket lists, but if I did, I would totally have this on there. In […]


  • Tam

    I know this is an old thread but my little suggie (aka sugar glider) just passed away. She lived to the ripe ol’ age of 10 years old and she was my only one! I regretfully admit I couldn’t give her as much attention as I would’ve liked since I was in school (high school, college, then grad school) most of her life but I talked to her every night (which worked out perfect because they are nocturnal so she slept all day anyway!) and she enjoyed the occasional roam around the house in a hampster ball (because I also had a cat). They don’t die of loneliness unless you NEVER give them attention, I mean you’d have to be the worst pet owner on the planet to ignore such a cutie long enough that they’d self multilate and starve themselves so much that they’d die! Not to mention you’d have to ignore the fact that you’d be seeing the multination and be just not feeding them! Anyhoo point being don’t be so sad about suggies! They are not depressing at all! They are a ball of fun and love playing and chasing just as much as kitty cats do! I will miss my suggie so badly but she lived a very long life despite being “alone.”


    • lucysfootball

      They really are the most beautiful little creatures! I’ve only seen one in person once – I worked at a vet clinic one summer and one of our clients had one. I’d never seen one before and when she took it out of its pouch I was so delighted!

      I’m so glad to hear that they aren’t as sad and lonely as I heard and if you pay enough attention to them, they’ll be fine! And I’m sorry to hear about your friend – I hope you get another pet soon! It’s so hard when we lose them!


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