While following up on the responses to my comments on other people’s blogs, I noticed that someone who replied to one of my comments made an intriguing observation that compelled me to check out his blog, his response to my comment being “U Funny”.
“Planking or the lying down game is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game. Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play. The term planking refers to mimicking a wooden plank.”
Aren’t you glad I grabbed a quote from Wikipedia? If I tried to explain it in my own words, you’d be reading into next week!
The photo I saw at punchiesmanifesto.com reminded me that I have seen non-primate planking with my own personal eyes and have the photos to prove it! For anatomical reasons, some non-humans have a tough time meeting Wikipedia’s stringent criterion of having one’s arms touch one’s sides without sustaining debilitating rotator-cuff injuries that would sideline them from their lawn digging activities for weeks. Likewise, it seems prejudicial to discount this rodential behaviour as not being true planking because squirrels don’t post photos of themselves on the internet. If you can find an ISP that will take their monthly fees in acorns, let me know and I’ll pass the information along to the squirrels. The squirrels don’t seem to care much about being in the spotlight — for them it seems more like a case of “art for art’s sake”.
My photos are of wild, feral squirrels that dig up Mrs. HoaiPhai’s flower bulbs… these are not pet squirrels that I bought off of eBay from a Chinese Squirrel Circus or anything. I did not train them to engage in this activity nor did I have to travel far to find these examples of squirrel planking — all these photos were shot from within two meters of my back door.
The really shocking thing about this is that planking within human societies only began to catch on worldwide in 2011, although according to the Wikipedia article Tom Green claims to have invented the activity (if you can call laying perfectly still an activity) as early as 1994. My neighbourhood squirrels have been doing it since at least 2008, long before any human in Southern Ontario began doing it. I don’t know… maybe the local squirrels are watching Freddie Got Fingered late at night in their nests.
My now-deceased mom’s black Scottish terrier was doing this in the 1980s, edging out Tom Green’s dubious claim by a good five years, and Angus was a strictly indoor dog that only went out on closely supervised leashed walks when my brother went over to visit Mom.
I have a funny feeling that reptiles, such as turtles, have been planking for millions of years so you young people who think you’re so “hip” or “with it” or whatever the expression is nowadays should pull up your pants, get off the sidewalk, and try again. You’re not doing anything new.