Columns, Opinion

FORSTER, GLANDER AND SAUER: The beast of our worries

Think back to the first Disney movie you ever watched. Was it ‘The Little Mermaid’? ‘Beauty and the Beast’? ‘The Fly’? Chances are, the main character was some sort of hideously anthropomorphized monster that was supposed to pass as ‘lovable.’ There are two types of these creatures: those that are half-man, half-beast, like centaurs, mermaids and a certain ThingFight columnist in bed (wink wink, nudge nudge). And then there are those that are all man by day, but transform into all-beast at night, or during a full moon, or for some other weird reason, like werewolves, Shrek and a certain ThingFight columnist who wets the bed (wink wink, nudge nudge, shame). These two types of creatures have coexisted peacefully in our imaginations for far too long. Faithful and attractive readers, you know what’s coming. The inevitable question: what if they fought?

The beastly man-morph is poetry, boasting the melodrama of primetime soap operas and locking it firmly within the eternal struggle between mortal man-boy and feral fuzz-buddy. You’ve heard the horror stories from the right-wing anti-shapeshifter lobbyists, but how could you judge a werewolf based on the fresh liver dripping thick blood down his gaping maw, tinged copper-red? Just look at those glossy eyes and bowed head. That guilt in his countenance screams man-hunk; those eyes are lanterns guiding you home on a dark night in a world that just doesn’t get you. He’s so deep, so guilty. Hell, he’s probably even an insomniac and the lead singer from Joy Division. One man on the frayed edge of society, he’s the pursuit of the FBI and GQ cover stories alike. His bite is deadly, but just wait till you hear him purr. It’s the perfect role for Keanu Reaves (original screenplay by ThingFight, all rights reserved).

At first the half-man half-beast would appear to be the best of both worlds. Mermaids are the ideal. Smart, gorgeous and funny; she’ll even sit through the big game and have a beer or two. But over time, perhaps 20 years (roughly 70 in semi-dog years), the best of both worlds tends to collide and a once gloriously forbidden empyrean bliss spirals down into an existence defined by hellish sexual frustration. For example, save for select Hungarian breeds of mermaids who’ve developed retractable scales to reveal their mid-Atlantic ridge ‘- thanks to natural selection and a little hormonal nudge from Scotland’s hush-hush 1988 Nobel Prize winner Loch Ness ‘- mankind’s shared longing is nothing more than a dream.

Even the lives of land-dwelling hybrids have become estranged from the practicality of a ten fingers and toes contract, and identity loses itself somewhere between the patchy fur and bare pink skin; where the happy trail of human hair and beast fluff mingles into a conspicuously suggestive arrow toward . . . the pubic bone? The hybrid never wears pants because what should be obscenely visible and bare isn’t even there.’ Call this the real riddle of the Sphinx. How, then, can these hybrids be in such great abundance? Reproduction doesn’t seem to be an option. These poor creatures are hoofin’ a very thin line between adorably weird fantasy friend and sickly mutated creation born from the less mature mind of a young Victor Frankenstein.

A physical battle won’t be necessary this time. There are far too many varieties of these types of creatures to really pit them against each other in battle. Sure, a mermaid could easily take out an Animorph with an expertly placed tail-flop, but a vampire could just as easily swoop in and take out the average polar bear-headed baby (yeah, those are real). Besides, everybody’s sick of brackets at this point.

As per usual, the deciding issue of this ThingFight comes down to one thing: nakedness. If you’re stuck in one weird form, like the Little Mermaid or that goat bro from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ you know what clothes you’ll need to wear when you get dressed in the morning. A centaur can pull on some custom-made apple bottom jeans with the security of knowing that they won’t be torn to pieces during a dramatic morphing montage. But if you’re a transformative being, you’ll either need to plan ahead and wear purple spandex like the Incredible Hulk (we don’t recommend it) or just carry a ton of spare outfits. Either way, people will think you’re incredibly flamboyant. The winner this week is the half-man, half-beast, but we must not forget that both types of monsters are, in scientific terms, freakin’ awesome. Actually, let’s not call them monsters ‘- the only monsters here are the animators at Disney who made the Little Mermaid so damn sexy.

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