THE BUNNY

We have archetypal animals in our yard. Some that we like, and some that we don’t.

Regarding the latter: after Marcia goes out to look at and tend her magnificent gardens, she frequently reports to me that “The bunny has eaten my petunias” or “The bunny had a field day with my asters” or other such tales of gardening woe and misfortune.

Her choice of words is important: she never reports that “A rabbit ate my petunias” or “Some conies ate my asters.” It’s always one, big, mean, annual-eating archetypal monster that can only be referred to in the singular: THE BUNNY!

I imagine HIMSELF hippity-hopping around the back yard while we are at work, making NOM! NOM! NOM! sounds as he hoovers up whatever new plants Marcia has placed in pots or beds for his nibbling pleasure.

I started wondering why Marcia referred to THE BUNNY that way, and it occurred to me that she probably picked up on my own (admittedly weird) habit of greeting animals that I encounter out loud in their proper archetypal forms, since I don’t actually know their names.

If I go outside to get the newspaper and there’s a grackle in the front yard watching me pass by, I politely and respectfully say “Hello, THE GRACKLE.” Why would I deign to greet it in any less formal way, since I haven’t been invited to do so? I was brought up polite-like by my mother, and always show it.

When a dog rushes up to me on the street, I don’t say “Hi there, boy!” or “Down, beast!”, but rather give it its proper archetypal due as well: “Hello, THE DOG.” Even the cats who live in the house with us get proper archetypal addresses when I greet them: “Hello, THE BUMBLE” or “Hello, THE ORANGE.”

Much to my family’s chagrin, I actually do this in front of other people, out loud. A lot.

So I suppose it’s only fitting that Marcia curses THE BUNNY in the same way that I would greet him, if I actually caught him noshing her flowers: “Hello, THE BUNNY. Are you enjoying the flowers that Marcia put out for your dining pleasure this week? Just as THE SQUIRREL is enjoying the seeds that I put out for THE FINCH and his friends?”

I guess that’s why I’m a lousy gardener, since it would never occur to me to chase any of those archetypal animals away.

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