The Aspect Of The Honey Badger – Why Heroes Don’t Always Look Like You Picture Them
“The course of true love never did run smooth”. Shakespeare wrote that. The twat. He wrote a lot of things, Shakespeare. He was the original meme generator. But I’m beginning to suspect that a lot of the things he wrote about weren’t such big problems with the human condition until he plonked them into the public consciousness.
Some of the things Shakespeare wrote about were actually eternal verities though. Perpetual truths. Sad realities. And rousing speeches. Here is an excerpt from what is probably his most famous speech:
“In peace, there’s nothing so becomes a man, As modest stillness and humility. But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard favoured rage, Then lend the eye a terrible aspect”
Inspiring stuff. And completely wrong. Well, not completely wrong. Stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood. Nothing wrong with that. What Shakespeare got wrong there was the animal in question. The tiger.
There’s no doubt that tigers are magnificent creatures. But what Shakespeare’s Henry the Fifth was trying to instill with that speech was action and bravery. The tiger is not the ideal role model for these two qualities. Tigers are, when all is said and done, massive cats. And cats are lazy bastards. Also, tigers are not brave. They have no need to be. They’re tigers. No animal in its right mind is going to try to attack a tiger.
Well, there is one animal that will. “Tyger, Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” A human being through the telescopic sights of a hunting rifle, that’s who. That’s why tigers are in danger of extinction. An object lesson in the fact that, if you go around being all magnificent the whole time, some fucker will shoot you and nail your pelt to the walls of his tastelessly decorated study.
You can forgive Shakespeare for this mistake, though. He was from Warwickshire, so I shouldn’t imagine he’d encountered that many actual tigers in his youth. Stratford upon Avon wasn’t exactly overrun with exotic wildlife, even back in his day. He would only ever have heard of tigers in descriptions from swarthy skinned adventurers he met in London.
Clearly, none of the swarthy skinned adventurers he met never told him any tales of the Honey Badger. Which is a shame, because it’s the Honey Badger that Henry the Fifth should have been trying to get his soldiers to imitate in the “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” speech.
Despite their cute name, Honey Badgers are the most fearsome creatures on God’s green earth. They have a bite that can chomp a tortoise in half. They will fight absolutely anything. Even tigers.
I’m not saying that you should live your life exactly like a Honey Badger. They are quite clearly mental, and if you did, you’d be dead within a month. But if there is a specific thing you need to do, a project you need to complete, then channel the Honey Badger, not the tiger.
Honey Badgers might not look as cool as Tigers, but when have you ever seen a Honey Badger skin rug? True love is not the only course that never runs smooth. Bite down like the Honey Badger when you need to, because life is always going to be a bumpy ride.
Copyright Michael Grimes 2016