Hippos hang out in the mud or the river except when they eat.

Many of us have lived like that at some point, eh? My last apartment was tiny – under 300 square feet, basically just a kitchen and an open space for a bed, with a bathroom tacked on. Consequently I did everything in bed, except things involving my digestive system. The primary distinction between my life and a hippo’s was, therefore, the bathroom.

Well, also hippos are harem animals, and I am not, so there’s another difference between me and a hippo.

Like peafowl, but not like blue tits, only the females invest in parenting, so this is your classic male competition/female choice scenario, complete with mate guarding and sexual dimorphism -mostly in the form of bigger meaner teeth in the males; hippos are fighters, not lovers, ya know? Or else they’d invest in some sexy coloration or something to advertise to females, rather than investing in teeth to fuck some shit up with the other boys.

Also like many big mammals, the female have a roughly simultaneous estrus, at the end of the wet season, and then they give birth mostly at the start of the following wet season. It’s only during estrus that females are receptive to sex, so the males just bide their time the rest of the year, duking it out amongst themselves, in good old intrasexual competition style.

I’ve often wondered what human society would be like if all the females simultaneous became receptive to sex for just a few weeks, say in the late summer, and then all of us were totally unreceptive to sex the rest of the year. “Well,” said a friend of mine when I put this scenario to him, “There would be no sports on TV in September.”

There’s one other respect in which I’m very much like a hippo: hippos and humans reproduce slowly, usually one baby at a time. That’s another big mammal trait.

So it’s a pretty simple life, life as a hippo. If you’re a female, you chill in the water, except when you wander over to the fridge (or “land”) for a snack, and for a brief window of time you’re willing to mate with the bull of the pod. Bull of the Pod. Heh. And if you’re a male, you either (a) chill in the river with the other single dudes, with the occasional bid for dominance if you think you stand a chance against the Bull of the Pod; or (b) preside over your harm if you’re the bull. Of the Pod. (Heh.)

Crumbs, I wouldn’t mind being a hippo.

Can you tell I’ve been working a lot of hours lately? My brain is like half functional.

My sister has a thing for hippos. She also happens to speak Russian and is a musician, so naturally I was pleased to find this classic from Flanders and Swann:

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