Monday, November 8, 2021

Microstory 1751: Spirit of the Lynx

When I was a boy, I had no identity. All of my classmates had some kind of online persona, which represented who they were, and what they enjoyed. Their usernames reflected these attributes, be it a love for football, or all things Star Wars. I didn’t care about anything in particular, or have any special way of setting myself apart from others. I suppose that’s what it really comes down to, that I was not special. Ya know, I liked watching the news, and not because I wanted to become a reporter when I was older, but I’ve always been more interested in the goingson of real life than fiction, or other forms of entertainment. But NewsBoy1994 seemed like a dumb and boring name that I didn’t want to use. One day, I was flipping through my favorite news and documentary channels, hoping to learn something new, when I came across a nature show about the lynx, and it gave me an idea. Maybe I am a lynx. And not because of the animal’s particular behavior, or the way that they look. Maybe it’s just arbitrary. I could call it my spirit animal, and claim to others that I just really like lynxes. I felt like a fraud, but no one else appeared to have any problem with it. He likes lynxes. Whatever, doesn’t matter to me. I didn’t get ridiculed or questioned, and everything went well. Over time, these creative online identities faded away. Social media allowed you to connect directly to your friends and contacts, but also just say things for the world to absorb at will. Real life has become trendy. People can read your posts if they want to, and on their own time. Many are using real identities now, because for most, it’s the closest we’ll get to fame, and we don’t want to hide ourselves under a layer of anonymity. Our friends can’t find us if they don’t know enough about us. Even then, is PermaLynx94 the guy you’re looking for, or some random stranger who also happens to like lynxes?

I shed my lynx identity, and moved on with my life. It was a lot easier for me than for others, I imagine. Some still probably weren’t too butthurt about it, since they were no longer so obsessed with the pastimes of their youth, and were glad to grow up. I didn’t care at all, because I never really cared about lynxes. It’s probably better now that people have to look deeper than my name if they want to know who I am. I got into hiking, which is something I never thought I would do. I probably would have tried to figure out some kind of clever walking pun back in the day if I had realized who I was at a younger age. I still like the news, and don’t care for fiction. I don’t have a problem with it on principle, but I watch Star Wars, and just don’t feel a damn thing for those people. This week, I’m backpacking alone in the woods, in the freezing cold of Canada. This is where I find my zen, away from people, and all of their noises. Things are going fine until I slip on a wet rock, and over the edge of the cliff. I hang onto a root, just hoping it doesn’t give. The drop is bout about six meters down, so I’ll live, but I’ll break bones, and not be able to leave. I have to find a way to lift myself up. Now I wish I had once identified as PullupDude69. As I’m hanging there, mere moments from a slow death, a lynx trots up and stares down at me. We study each other’s eyes, and don’t move a muscle. Suddenly, I’m no longer on the brink, but in some kind of tranquil and balanced serenityscape. We watch each other for an eternity, and then my spirit animal graciously provides me with the strength I need to pull myself up, and survive.

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