Columns, Opinion

FORSTER, GLANDER, SAUER: Pegasus vs. unicorn

Here’s some disturbing news: a recent poll showed that only 82 percent of American toddlers could properly differentiate between Pegasus (the winged horse who served Hercules) and a unicorn (a horse with a horn atop its head which many speculate is, in fact, magical). That sure doesn’t sound like No Child Left Behind to us here at Thingfight. Some of you may be wondering, ‘So what? They’re both mystical offshoots of the Equidae taxonomic family of mammals; there’s nothing more to it. Now leave me alone so I can live under a rock and lead a life that is neither intellectually nor spiritually rewarding.’

If we could end the column there, we would, because it literally takes years to write one of these. But, as our faithful and attractive readers of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are surely aware, we at Thingfight have sworn an oath to take some time every week to examine the differences between two apparently similar things, often in the context of a fight. It could, indeed, be stated that Pegasus and unicorns both fall under the deceptively broad category of ‘things.’

Sadly, even with our colossal research budget, there is no practical way to study Pegasus, or a unicorn. Of course, most academics concede that Pegasus died of old age long ago, and the fossil record indicates that after unicorns were denied entry onto Noah’s ark, they evolved into two separate species to accommodate the flooded earth: in the ocean, narwhal (from the Latin gnarrwall, or ‘horned beast of the sea that totally used to be a horse’), and in the sky, the majestic but terrifying Eaglecorn. Many speculate that some modern unicorns are actually hiding inside rhinos. But just imagine, what if they were still alive today? And what if, due to some sort of territorial misunderstanding, they fought?

Though he fights alone, Pegasus can’t be ruled out as a contender. He was created by Poseidon as a gift to Hercules. That’s right, Hercules was his boss. It can be inferred that Pegasus was offered an incredible comprehensive benefits package along with this job, including dental and a 401(k) plan. Keep in mind that this was back before last October, when a 401(k) was actually worth something. We’re just spit-balling here, but it seems that financially and health-wise, Pegasus was probably more secure than the average unicorn. When Pegasus passed away, he was honored by Zeus with his very own constellation in the night sky. This is simply not a feasible feat for a unicorn: placed in outer space, whether in the night sky or even the less intimidating daytime sky, a unicorn would run out of oxygen, if he didn’t instantly freeze first. In modern psychology, Pegasus was said by Freud to represent the ‘primitive scene.’ Wikipedia doesn’t have any information on this term, so it’s scientifically impossible to know for certain what it means, but it is generally conceded by the staff here at Thingfight to sound totally awesome.

The unicorns, however, are not to be ruled out just yet. The unicorn (from the Latin unus or ‘one’ and corne or ‘stabbing horse’) has been encountered by nearly all societies, from ancient Mesopotamia to medieval Europe, and the legend surely will continue onward through present time into the moon-based societies of the future. This leads to the conclusion that unlike Pegasus, the unicorns flourished and traveled in large armies. This is a seeming advantage, but remember that Pegasus could easily lure the entire unicorn species off a cliff and fly away, Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner style. Additionally, unicorns have a much broader fan base, ranging from little girls with Lisa Frank unicorn binders to 18-year-old newspaper column writers with Lisa Frank unicorn binders. Undoubtedly, this kind of support gives a moral boost to match or even outdo the support of Poseidon, Zeus and the rest of the cast of the Disney musical version of Hercules. Unlike Pegasus, Freud never discussed unicorns in his works ‘-‘- because he was too scared of them. You see, unicorns held incredible influence in 20th century psychoanalysis, as they still do today.

So who would emerge victorious from this mystical arena? Here at Thingfight we have a three-way tie: one vote for the majestic and noble Pegasus, one vote for the enchanting and prestigious unicorn and a third vote for another possibility entirely: what if the two beasts put aside their differences and realized just how much they had in common? Imagine, just for a moment, a Pegasus-unicorn love child, a ‘pegacorn’ of sorts (from the Latin peg, or ‘seriously’ and acorn, or ‘awesome.’) In that scenario, we would all be winners. Actually, we wouldn’t, because a creature as seriously awesome as that would surely outsmart, overpower and ultimately enslave us all.

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  2. What editor decided this deserved to be printed?