So Dave came home from a walk the other day and I asked him what-all he’d seen and he said Nothing, and then he thought about it for a moment and said Oh yeah I saw a unicorn, and I said Where, and he said Over on Edgehill Place, and then we talked about dinner. But later I circled back to it because it seemed odd to me that if he were to see a legitimate mythical beast it would be a unicorn. Neither of us has the kind of affection for unicorns that most people have. Seems to me if you’re going to string together a lot of odd features into one critter, you could do better than a horse that can spindle you with his head. Not that you hear a lot about unicorn spindlings in the news. Perhaps they’re bred to be unaggressive. If they’re doing anything at all, historically, they’re sitting on the ground with their heads in a pretty girl’s lap. That comes from the notion that only a young virgin can tame a unicorn, wink wink, like we don’t know what that’s about.
If I’d had a thing for such beasts when I was a young wink-wink, it probably would’ve been a centaur. Flying horses looked nice but I was afraid of heights and didn’t even fly in my dreams. The centaur is designed to be appealing. Unlike the mermaid, which is all come-hither on the top end and sorry-Charlie on the bottom end, the centaur promises all the parts, and in a big way. We can see how all this came about. Men were in charge of writing this stuff up, and when they visualized their handsome top halves, they made sure to include impressive equipment on the bottom half. But when they visualized half of a beautiful woman, they made sure to make her endlessly frustrating, just like women are in real life, so they can go crazy and feel comfortable and justified about killing things.
But why a spiral horn? Why not a horse with tusks, or plates down its back, or long graceful fingers? Well, there were probably a number of extant critters that could qualify as a unicorn, at least in description. They’ve been cited going back many thousands of years. In fact there used to be a large mammal called an Elasmotherium that ran like a horse and had a single giant horn on its head, and although it lacked delicacy, we’ve had thousands of years since we made it go extinct to shine up its reputation. Earlier ones had elephant feet, and maybe a boar’s tail, and it took hundreds of years of playing “telephone” across Europe to recombobulate it from a rhinoceros to a virgin-friendly equid.
And the spiral horn of a narwhal is what was generally presented as a unicorn horn. Back in the day, it was common for people to take found bones and odd, unrelated parts and assemble them into all sorts of things that never existed, the same way Republicans cherrypick data, email, and random lies to make the case that climate change is a hoax. People bought into it then, too.
Dave reports his unicorn was not two men in pajamas and a papier-mache head. It was quite authentic right down to the hooves and sparkles, and was being led down the street by one or several princesses to reintroduce it to its native habitat, a child’s birthday party. This is what happens when real estate prices go through the roof.
I’m glad for him that he saw it, and now I’m looking around for my centaur. Just my luck he’ll turn up with a pot belly and a T-shirt that reads “If you can read this, the bitch fell off” on the back.
Children's birthday parties are really getting out of hand. Parents practically have a freakin' carnival going on in their backyard for their little darlings. When I was little, I had cake, a couple relatives over, and a couple presents. Full stop. Are today's kids any happier because they have more stuff and more input going on? I doubt it. They are probably on the road to disappointment when they get older and are no longer adorable and no one throws a three ring circus for them anymore. Whereas if they just had the cake and relatives, even being taken out to dinner as an adult would be a treat.
It's weird, but one of the things that put me off the most about having children (I didn't) was the fear of the big birthday party. Is that MANDATORY? Do kids go to thirty of them a YEAR? How can this madness stop? Excess gets in the way of happiness.
now I have to go off googling 'male stripper/centaurs for bachelorette parties'…wink wink
The Speedo would be a piece of work.
Be careful what you wish for…you might get Tony Abbott in his red "budgie smugglers."
It is everything I can do to not Google red budgie smugglers.
oh go on. You know you want to. Google.
You know, if enough of us pitched in, I'm sure that *somewhere* in Portland we could find a centaur for Murr and have it delivered to her door…
I was going to protest, but then it did sound kind of interesting.
Let's! And I want pictures.
So do you think if Dave had seen a mermaid on his walk he would have been any quicker to tell you about it? How can you not be busting to tell your partner about seeing a dang unicorn?!
(fake or not)
Thank you for once again increasing my knowledge base – this is the first I'd heard of the Elasmotherium. And thanks for the smiles.
First I'd heard of it too. And it existed when humans did! LOTS of huge critters existed right up until humans showed up. It's a hell of a coincidence.
Always make me laugh!
If you insist!
Having witnessed what a horse can do with its feet adding a pointy horn on its head would be insanity. Virgin princesses can tame them because they haven't learned about fear and mortality yet.
I think it would be important to warn the princesses not to actually ride the unicorn. You know what happens then.
Golly, don’t I feel silly? When I was a kid reading about centaurs and seeing Disney versions at the movies, I always thought centaurs must be about convenience. A Prandsome Hince and a mode of transportation in one. I can’t say I’ve given them much thought since, so I am shocked by your news. Owning one for the purpose you imply would be thoroughly impractical, if you think about it. And, with my luck, he’d still refuse to turn on the sound on the GPS or ask for directions.
I imply nothing. You dirty girl.
The mythical beast which I really, really hope isn't is dragons.
Fire-breathing for preference, but I will/would take them any way they come.
There's that whole flying thing to contend with, though. Scary.
Ah, but flying dragons DO exist… in a smaller form. We call them "birds". Or so my parrot tells me….
They just repeat what they've heard.
I love dragons too and wish they were real. I suppose dragonflies are the next best thing.
The old timey dragonflies were six feet across.
I confess I have never once considered the possibility of centaur sex. Nor have I given any thought to the virgin taming the unicorn thing. I did, however, know the meaning of the birds singing in early morn, at least in English folksongs. One of your best, and your quips in the comments section rock. xoxo jz
Lhude sing cuccu! Actually I haven't thought much about centaur sex either. That's a little too Catherine the Great for me.
I just googled "Unicorn Rental Portland OR" and sure enough, there is a business called Oregon Dream Ponies that seems to have unicorns. The photo shows a princess posing next to one, wearing her own unicorn hat and a t-shirt reading, "Always be a unicorn." Hmm. Always be a pretty, sparkly non-existent fictional creature? What are we selling here?
P.S. I saw a small herd of unicorns in Costa Rica, which makes sense due to the dazzling biodiversity to be found in that country. Their horns were out of season, I noted, but they were surely the real thing, browsing on a hidden beach near the Tarcoles River, gazing at us as our boat passed by. One winked, the other raised its hoof to its mouth in the universal "SHUSH!" signal.
And yet you blabbed. Thanks!
Oh gag! I just looked up your unicorn. What IS it with all the PRINCESSES? I wouldn't have been caught dead in the outfits that 80% of the girls wear on the street these days. Bleah.
A real, live, sparkly unicorn! How lucky is Dave! Not to mention the two young Princesses. He had quite a day 🙂
Probably more into the princesses.
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