A Long And Complex Tail

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Some things are never straightforward. You might wish they were, but it isn’t going to happen. And sometimes, if you start trying to explain those things, the next convoluted thing has started by the time you finish explaining what had happened*.

This situation happened to a friend recently**, and was paraphrased as “a long and complex tale”... which I tend to view as the opening of a very long parenthesis, where you find out eventually, but not until you’ve forgotten what it was about, forgotten you didn’t know, re-remembered both of those bits, and finally got to the bottom of it all.

When faced with words that sound the same but have different meanings, my mind seems to automatically fill in whichever option provides the most entertaining mental picture. It knows what it’s supposed to be, but just seems to like to amuse itself along the way. Consequently I had images of impossible animals with very complicated tails. A bit like toves. But maybe longer and more labyrinthine***. And with less cheese.

And then I came across snow leopards. It’s not as though they’re a new invention or anything. But what I hadn’t realised until very recently was that they use their tails as scarves when they’re especially cold. Of course, there is very perversely no photographic evidence of this that I can find, so it could be yet another mysterious hoax. Or maybe they’re shy about it. Or, more practically, kept in zoos that don’t get cold enough for the need to arise. But if you were going to have a long and complex tail, it would be quite handy for it to also serve as additional warmth, and potentially a fashion accessory.

Picture: BBC

* This has the potential to be as frustrating as when you can remember the punchline, but not the actual joke. Gah!
** Really. It isn’t only me with long and convoluted thoughts. Oh, no.
*** The very thought of a labyrinthine tail is an intriguing one...

emiglia on May 26, 2010 at 7:39 AM

Love this post! It's cool to see how your mind works written out like that...

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