Oh platypus, you wonderful and weird creature. How long you have evaded the World as the most obvious and perfect mascot of the Asperger’s society.
You, you solitary mammal, with your capability of laying eggs. You who “nurses” your young with no teats. You, or at least in the case of the male platypus, who has a venomous spike on it’s heal. An incredible animal capable of hunting underwater even with your eyes, ears and nostrils shut – simply by using your super cool electronic receptors located on your duck like bill.
A creature made up of other creatures (or so it seems), as if you attempted to mimic the best traits of these other animals but mashed it all together in an all too obvious way. We can see you are not a duck, but that you kinda are. We can see you are not a beaver or an otter…but that you kinda are.
You don’t do things the way even your mimicked animal counterparts do. You don’t flash your pretty feathers the way a duck might while waddling proudly in the sunlight. You don’t slide down riverbanks in play the way an otter does or create giant homes to be seen and marvelled at the way a beaver does. No, you don’t play, or build extravagant things. You eat, you dig, you swim, and you have a burrow. A secret burrow. A place all your own that is tight and dark and exactly right for you. A snug little place fitted just right around you, hugging you as you pass through the tunnel. A sort of comforting pressure that gives you the sense of safety and not of suffocation. A pressure not unlike the pressure Bean seems to need so often, but most especially during a meltdown.
I shouldn’t have been surprised that Bean loves Platypi/Platypuses (apparently neither plural term is right and neither is incorrect so pick the one you like best and let’s move on…) because you are almost too easily relatable to her. You with your weird way of doing things, your quirkiness, your unconventional looks.
When I asked her why she loves you so, she responded – “because they are different, they are made from so many different animals, there is nothing like them”.
So in other words: unique.
And you are unique! More then unique, you are strange, you are “weird”, you are interesting, you are awesome.
You with the way you shut out the World when you are hunting – as if hunting is your AS fixation the way that reading is Bean’s. You, the platypus, with your need for tight spaces and solidarity, the way that Bean needs extra hard hugs that have nothing to do with affection but instead a need for pressure and escape. The way Bean needs to swaddle herself in a million trillion blankets while she watches tv or sleeps, again to feel that extra weight on her, that pressure, that security.
“Deep Touch Pressure” is what it is called, apparently.
So yes Platypus, with your seeming to mimic or even take on the shapes of other animals, your snug fitting burrow implying your need for tight spaces, your amazing skill at finding food while shutting everything out, your favouring a solitary lifestyle and your very obvious strangeness I think I can safely say you are the AS animal of the 21st century.
If nothing else, the fact that you cannot be explained, or even truly understood. That you are a mystery of sorts, a fantastic anomaly (along with the Echidna) in this World is enough for me to place you as top nominee for the place of AS mascot.
Thank you Temple Grandin and the awesome Platypus, for proving once again that different is not less.