Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Tail Tingled!

When I was a  boy, one of my favorite series of books was the "Doctor Dolittle" books by Hugh Lofting. Yes, before the Rex Harrison/Eddie Murphy movie versions, there were a series of children's novels chronicling the adventures of a doctor in Victorian England who could talk to animals. He knew over 500 different animal languages (he would have been able to  speak more, but he claimed to have trouble learning goldfish because  their attention spans were too short), which came in handy on his many adventures. You can't find the books too easily nowadays, due to some politically incorrect characters and situations, which is too bad. I really loved these books.

In one of my favorites in the series, "The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle", the Doctor charters a boat, and sets sail with his animal homeys to find his friend Long Arrow. "The world's greatest naturalist", the Doctor calls him. He is also, unfortunately, a stereotypical "injun", which is one of the PC bugaboos I mentioned.

One night on the ship, one of the ship's rats comes to visit the Doctor. This surprises Dolittle, as he explains to his friends that rats usually avoid contact with human beings. The rat tells him he is correct, rats don't care for people, what with their affinity for cats and rat traps and the like. However, even the rats recognise that the Doctor isn't like other people, and over the course of  the voyage they have grown to admire him. This is high praise indeed, the rat informs him, as rats don't admire much.

The rat tells the doctor that whenever something bad is going to happen, a rat's tail tingles. He warns him that all the rats' tails on the ship are tingling now, and they are pretty sure that sometime during the night, the ship is going to sink. The rats are leaving the boat, and they advise the Doctor to do the same. The Doctor thanks the rat for the heads-up, but after the rodent departs, he dismisses the warning and goes to bed.

That night the ship sinks. 

I don't want to ruin the rest of  the story for you if you haven't read it, but don't worry, everyone survives the shipwreck. Even Chee-Chee.

Like the rat in the story, I too sometimes get a "tingly tail". A premonition that something bad is going to happen. A psychiatrist would probably call this a "panic attack", but, then again, a psychiatrist would  probably have a bunch of diagnoses for me. Of course, I don't literally have a tail, but sometimes, not often, I just get a feeling in my gut that there is some sort of unpleasantness ahead. In the past, I would get it before a test in school which I would later fail. If I felt it before  school lunch was about to be served, "Rice ala Scituate" was sure to be on the menu that day. In my adult life (and I use the term loosely), I have had it before businesses I worked for went belly up, or before disastrous blind dates, or before buying a ticket to an Adam Sandler movie. Sometimes my fears are groundless, but for the most part, this "tingly tail" feeling is pretty accurate.

Do any of you out there ever have this feeling, or should I stop taking life lessons from a rat in a children's book?

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Blogger P.L. Frederick said...

My vote: Keep at it! You've proven over time you've got a connection that is usually helpful. You and your body are in touch, and the body often provides information that the brain lacks. If you're interested there are ways to get even more in tune. There's a whole segment of people who do energy healing and what-not (Reiki, theraputic touch, etc.) and it sounds like, if it's something that interests you, you could probably learn yourself and be very good at. Or just to use on yourself and family.

My brother is uncanny with relatives who are about to die. One day David will "just get a feeling that I should go see _____." Even if it means flying 900 miles. Within hours or days, they pass on. It recently happened with our dad, and it couldn't have worked out any better. Except for the death part.

June 18, 2009 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...


Thanks for the advice. Don't worry, it's too late to change my attitude anyway.

Yikes! Tell David not to visit me!

June 18, 2009 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger P.L. Frederick said...

The key is, “I have a feeling I should visit you... soon.” Come to think about it, he's trying to come visit me this summer. Vitamins, where are the vitamins? Wait a minute... I could cross-check him with you and discover which Lotto numbers WON'T win.

June 19, 2009 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger eeTeeD said...

if i ever had a tingly tail, it's become desensitized.

June 22, 2009 at 10:21 PM  

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