Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't Activate the Prey Drive 

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Not long ago I tried to intervene when Spoon caught and killed a mountain mouse while we were on a hike together. When I grabbed her head to stop her from shaking the little creature to death I was horrified to discover that Spoon had been transformed from my little fuzzy lovebug angel into a killing machine. Terrier instinct had taken over and she was in the full grip of her prey drive and there was no stopping her. Her facial expression reminded me Tom Berenger’s in the final battle scene of Platoon, an expression that I have never forgot. In the heat of the battle Berenger has gone completely beserker and tries to strangle Sheen, whom he doesn’t recognize or discriminate from the enemy because he's in a blind, dead-eyed, instinctive killing rage.

All predators, humans included, have what's called a prey drive and it's a good policy to avoid inflaming it. Recently I felt my own prey drive stirred while watching that horrid movie Failure to Launch. In one scene, Sarah Jessica Parker's character is dragged off to be an unwilling participant in a paintball tournament. During the battle she acts like a completely helpless ninny, and her mouse like squeaks, which I’m sure she thought were adorable and girlish, made Spoon stare at the television hungrily and made me, normally a non-violent creature, want to hunt her down and empty a clip of paintballs into her, and then follow that with a vicious titty twister for good measure. Her acting and making noises like such rodent prey under the circumstance of battle, even a mock, paintball battle, brought out the predator in me as well as Spoon, who I'm sure wanted to grab her by the neck and shake it until it snapped.

I have especially noticed the prey drive in action on my bike. I ride my bike to work, as do many of my colleagues, and we all have a tale about being chased down by an angry driver. Usually this was in response to a road altercation between the biker and driver. If there is any sort of words exchanged, or rude gestures made, etc. and the bike takes off, sometimes the driver will have an instinctive reaction to chase the biker down like a greyhound does a rabbit. There is something about the biker, maybe his or her vulnerability, or the way it seems that the car is overtaking the biker with speed, that makes the biker seem like quarry, and occasionally their primitive instincts overide their common sense and civility. When I ride my bike I now never try to escalate, engage or even make eye contact with drivers. When I formulated my car/bike as prey/quarry theory, it dawned on my that doing the FUH2 while on a bike is a very foolhardy idea. I know that I’m dealing with powerful instincts here.

As Josef Goebbel, Hitler's master of propaganda, remarked, "Man is and remains an animal. Here a beast of prey, there a housepet, but always an animal."

One night a colleague and I sat talking on our bikes right outside the employee door. We didn't notice a deranged, hulking man who had been stumbling through and screaming at traffic approach us. All of the sudden he was upon us. As he lurched menacingly toward us he and opened his mouth to say something, I locked eyes with my colleague and we both instantaneously scattered in opposite directions, a common prey evasive tactic. I hadn't even realized consciously what we had done until I was 100 yards away, pedaling furiously. My colleague and I were operating on pure instinct.

While I was digging around for this Goebbel's quote I found this one.

“If the German people lay down their weapons, the Soviets, according to the agreement between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, would occupy all of East and Southeast Europe along with the greater part of the Reich. An iron curtain would fall over this enormous territory controlled by the Soviet Union, behind which nations would be slaughtered.” I never knew that it was Goebbels who coined the term 'iron curtain.' I always thought it was Churchill.

Although for me, the most memorable Goebbels quote was that said by his wife, Magda: "Sleep tight, children."

My hunter instinct is triggered by Heather Graham. SUCH a floozy and my dear husband has a "thing" for her which makes me even more voracious. But Sarah J. Parker will do in a pinch!
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