I’m Better Than Otters

Tonight, my girlfriend and I caught this show on PBS about otters. Specifically, baby otters, who’re in desperate need of parents and are being rehabilitated by human help at an aquarium. In the show, the narrator said that baby otters can’t do much for themselves for a long while other than float. That they learn everything from their mothers and that’s how they gain the necessary skills for survival. They sleep, they eat, they poop. The end. It was at that moment in my head I thought, “Heh, I’m better than baby otters.” Something clicked. Am I seriously comparing myself to baby otters? Have I gotten THAT low in my own expectations of myself that I can look at a actual baby animal and think, “My survival skills are better than your survival skills! Suck it bitch!”

If so, that’s really kind of sick.

As I’ve said before, it’s often a good thing to take positive thoughts when you can find them. When you’re depressed, when you could be suicidal, it’s really a good habit to take the few brief thoughts of “maybe I’m ok” that your brain allows to get through the impenetrable sad fog that otherwise permeates your entire existence. They’re slivers of sunshine breaking through closed blinds. A somewhat dim, yet real, bit of hope. But when you get to the point that you’re comparing yourself to baby otters…you may want to rethink your problems. The first issue here is that it’s a baby. It’s not even that it’s an animal. NO baby can survive on their own. It’s like looking at a human baby and going, “Screw your 8 month old, Denise, I am WAY more capable of survival than this sack of flesh!”. That’s wrong, right? People don’t do that. Secondly, it’s an otter. It’s one thing if it were like a rhino or a tiger or something that has to watch out for poachers day in and day out and other animals trying to take its life. Saying I’m better than baby otters is about as bad as saying, “I bet I could beat this three legged dog in a race!” It’s a no win scenario. First, you make everyone around you hate you for trying to physically outshine a handicapped animal, and secondly you’re probably make that dog cry and who makes dogs cry? Assholes, that’s who.

Then there’s the entire factor that I had to run down, in my head, the gauntlet of things that I’m better at than baby otters that allow me to survive. I can make my own food. I don’t have natural predators. I’m not going to get caught in fishing nets (I said this last summer, but this summer, I mean it!). So basically that reasoning turns into “because I’m not an otter.” That’s not a good enough reason for anything, let alone comparing myself to baby otters! Comparing yourself to other humans? Now that I understand. If Carl gets a job and you don’t, you wonder what’s wrong with you. You’re applying to just as many jobs as Carl is, you’re trying just as hard, so why isn’t anyone giving you a chance? It makes sense to size yourself up to other humans in terms of comparative success because you’re both from the same species. Otters? Not so much. There’s nothing here to help my claim. I’m not better than otters. Especially not baby otters. Then, in the natural progression of this thought process, I became mad at the baby otters. They’re making me realize what a bitch I am! They’re making me question my motives and my self worth! They’re making me angry at myself for comparing myself to them in the first place! Now I feel worse than I did before I even saw the program!

What in gods name is wrong with me.

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