I was a teenage marmot | PostIndependent.com

I was a teenage marmot

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

Go ahead call me a yellow-bellied marmot. See if I care.

Or my family.

I just read today, in a “Science News” article, about the outcome of a study of animal social networks. The study revealed that marmots, in particular Colorado marmots, deal with social attention – especially the testy kind – as did their parents before them. And their marmot parents before them. And socially, people can be a lot like marmots.

I knew I liked those little buggers for a reason.

I’ve been intrigued by marmots since I moved to Colorado. I saw my first marmot on the river, and I always look for them when I’m on a float. I never knew they are a lot like us.

I can be a little skittish, too.

The study, highlighted in a paper from the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” shows that marmots form social networks. These networks are not exactly like our Facebook or LinkedIn, mostly because marmots have a real problem with typing. But just like when someone considered a friend deletes you from Facebook, marmots can decide one too many friends causes too much drama.

That’s when the real marmot claws come out I guess.

Marmots that are social butterflies and can take the drama come out on top. They get this from their mamas. And their papas. Like many people, some marmots avoid confrontation. I’ve been known to do this, and for that I blame my mom. I’m kidding, although I have never seen my mother in a mean fight, with a marmot or a human being. And for that, I am thankful. I get as uncomfortable as a girdle when I see a chick fight.

Who knows what I would do if I saw two female marmots going at it over some crazy Facebook libel.

My mom and I are quite alike in many ways, and now that I’m an adult, our similarities are frightening. And by frightening, I mean scary-but-funny frightening. Like riding the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World. Or having my dad jump out from behind a door and scare the living daylights out of my girlfriends and me while we laugh until we practically wet our pants.

Scary. But funny.

Like my mom, I don’t really like people screaming and yelling at each other. Especially in front of children. I prefer a more civil way of solving problems. I also do not like to be screamed or yelled at, because, well, I’m sensitive. And I will probably cry.

And believe it or not, despite my comic ways, I can actually be a little shy. This I also get from my mother. I’m not shy to speak in public or tell jokes in front of complete strangers. I can get a little shy when I’m an outsider to a group of people who have a bond I don’t share. I’m not sure if there’s a name for this. That’s when I go into observation mode and listen instead of talk.

This is why I’m such a Facebook freak.

Recently, I was on Facebook and a former history teacher of mine popped up on instant messenger to ask me about my comedy career. We got to talking and I shared some of my favorite teaching moments as his student. He shared his recollections of me.

“I remember you as a student always observing what was going on around her,” he said.

Sounds about right.

“And while being somewhat quiet, always having a sharp wit and being able to tell it like it is.”

I might not be much of a fighter, but maybe I’m not so yellow-bellied after all. Like a marmot, I got that from my mama, too.

April E. Clark wishes her fabulous friend Janelle a wonderful and happy birthday. Now, to celebrate. April can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@yahoo.com.

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