Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Millie the Millipede and Her Stages of Grief

Once upon a time there was a millipede named Millie. Millie was probably the happiest little millipede that ever was. She really enjoyed having a thousand legs. And she really made the most of it! Millie entertained all her fellow millipedes with her amazing feats of agility. Millie could play doubles tennis while simultaneously playing a dozen pianos and ukuleles, juggling fifty balls and dancing an entire chorus line. She was well known in millipede circles as the supreme queen of multitasking.

But then one dark day something terrible happened. Millie was injured when a giant foot came down from heaven and nearly squished her. The foot delivered a glancing blow but nevertheless it tore off 26 of Millie’s legs. Millie was devastated. Not only did this terrible freak accident extremely hamper her mobility and agility, it plunged her into a deep identity crisis. Could she still proudly call herself a millipede if she only had 974 legs? Millie felt like a freak.

Some of other millipedes teased her and called her names, like Stumpy. Others took pity on her. They saw her as an innocent victim of a random accident that could easily befall any of them. There but for the grace of God go them. But some of the more maniacally religious millipedes shunned Millie. They didn’t believe in random accidents. God often sent giant feet crashing down from heaven to express his displeasure with millipedes, sometimes in thundering stampedes. Since God doesn’t make mistakes, those squished or maimed by giant feet obviously did something evil to incur his divine wrath.

After losing 26 legs, Millie went through many stages of grief. First, there was depression. Millie drank excessively, sometimes as much as 125 bottles of whisky at once. Then she entered a buoyant stage of denial. She was highly motivated to prove to all the other millipedes and to herself that she was still just like them. She wasn’t going to let having 974 legs define her! So Millie got fitted with 26 tiny prosthetic legs. When Millie re-emerged in millipede society standing tall on her new prosthetics, other millipedes praised her for her bravery.

But deep down inside, Millie still felt discontent. Whenever she came home at night, she immediately shed her prosthetics, like she was shedding a clunky suit of armor. Millie preferred going au naturel like this, as she called it. Millie had learned to zip around effectively and efficiently by lying on a tiny skateboard, which she propelled with her 974 legs. Sure, when she went out in public on her skateboard, other millipedes with their full complement of legs strained their necks staring at her or trying not to stare. But Millie didn’t care. She was much more comfortable and mobile on her skateboard.

So Millie entered the final stage of grief. Sociologists refer to this euphorically liberating state of mind as the fuck you stage. From then on Millie bopped around town on her skateboard and without her prosthetics because that’s how she felt most comfortable and free. And if any other millipedes didn’t like it, Millie flipped them the finger, 974 times.

And Millie lived happily ever after.

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