A Case on Behalf of Being A Rabbit

I think it would be great to be a rabbit.

I mean, why not? Rabbits haven’t been relegated to rodent status like guinea pigs or communications majors. They’re not imputed with vices like snakes and scorpions are, even though their impact on the environmental ecosystem is roughly equivalent. (Here, I am assuming that shedding your skin on top of the refrigerator in the half-darkened and rarely visited part of the garage in an unexpected place so when I find it I wet my pants or crawling into your shoe and taking a nap until you poke your big toe all up in his face and the only retort, naturally, is to sink your stinger deep into the ingrown part of the nail, respectively, are parts of the ecosystem.) And they’ve hippity hopped up the Disneyified branch of the evolutionary scale, so the only rabbits poorly looked upon are those sitting on the dusty shelf at the Snatch ‘N’ Sniff Boutique in Mobile, Alabama.

So, I say, why not be a rabbit? Just think of the perks, at it were.

First, you have the benefit of advantageous association. You have the sugary contagious happiness of the Trix rabbit; the second-degree imagined respect of Harvey; the wiseacre traditionality of Bugs; The honest-I’m-not-enjoying-this-at-all-haw-haw-look-at-what-he’s-up-to-now! frivolity of Br’er; the benign and complete noninfluence on modern culture of Peter; the corporately inclined energy of Roger; the nonexistent nostalgia manufactured from the time filler at two in the morning on the Boomerang channel in Ricochet; the lamentable hubris of the Hare; the soulful, post-9/11 determination of the Energizer; and the creatively named yet innocently missed Bunny Rabbit. Thinking about any of these fictional characters, and you think fondly to yourself—anyone would love to hang out with any of these rabbits if somehow they anthropomorphically inserted themselves into our daily lives—Bugs making change at the register at Denny’s, say, or Trix running mule routes along the Rio Grande.

Fictional rabbits aside, the rather comical engineering of the standard rabbit is a pleasant aftertaste as well. While they seem rather poorly designed, with an inability to walk or, technically, do much at all, what they are designed to do they do very, very well. You can scour the animal kingdom with a fine-toothed comb and not find another creature that can stand still for six hours at a time munching on the same piece of vegetation without so much as twitching. Though one tends to think that someone somewhere was acting on a dare during the prototype stages of their construction—giving the poor rabbit such big ears, large enough to hear the many, many natural predators that come knocking on the door, yet have a complete and utter inability to actually run away without scrambling about in an amusing manner akin to the last sketch of a Benny Hill hour. At least those choppers, while the bane of every rabbit during Senior Picture Day, are really good at chomping down on ugly raw vegetables and pet store clerks.

The rabbit has an easy life. What are rabbits known for? Eating grass and laying the cottonwood, mostly. And while I could do without all the grass-eating, I also don’t envy the female of the species, who apparently are impregnated if standing downwind from the rabbit equivalent of the prom king and gives birth to about six hundred rablits approximately every Monday.

And what are the goals of the lowly rabbit? To eat more grass than your neighbor, which, given the trajectory of the standard rabbit warren population, is probably cottontail to cottontail with you right now? I could handle that. It’s a lot better than aiming for holding onto a spirit-crushing middle management position long enough to retire without too much shame. You may find the odd rabbit that aims to outlive his immediate friends and family, something, granted, a touch tougher than simply shoving mushed grass in your mouth all day long. But the old adage is still the best one—you don’t have to be faster than the fox, you simply have to be faster than that draggin’-ass Mipsy.

Still, rabbitry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are still some negative portrayals of rabbits in the culture. Top of this particular list is that smug, self-satisfied look of the Playboy Bunny, the one that says “Hey, at least I’m not gonna be the one to spend all weekend watching the Monk marathon, hoss.” And while rabbits have come to symbolize fertility (“How you doin’?”) and innocence (“I’ve never done anything like this before!”), they are just as often portrayed as irresponsible (“I’ll pull out!”) and cowardly (“That ain’t mine!”).

All told, though, being a rabbit seems like a solid, fulfilling career change. And if you’re still not sold, think about this: if you were a rabbit, you would never have to be forced to read Watership Down. ‘Nuff said.

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