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.”
THIS IS HORRIBLE.
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.
HOW THE HELL DID THE FIRST ARMADILLO GET LEPROSY.
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.
THAT IS NOT ALL. NO NO CHARLIE.
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?
Well, YES THERE IS!
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.