What Lemmings Can Tell Us

Ah, regard the noble Lemming.


The Lemming is a four ounce fur ball with a single minded determination that often proves to be its undoing.  Do you remember a teacher, or parent asking, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?”  Well, if you’re a lemming, you’ll happily march, nose-to-butt off the nearest cliff.

jumpers courtesy of gamespot.com

jumpers courtesy of gamespot.com

Lemmings aren’t really very social creatures.  They come out of seclusion to eat their leafy greens and to find a little rodent love, then go their separate ways.  No entanglements, no messy Lemming relationship drama.  No, “I’ll call you,” awkwardness.

The rodents are aggressive, conspicuously colored so they are easy pickings for predators and their insatiable drive to find more, or better feeding grounds leads to the fabled mass suicide – the Lemming cliff dive.

The Lemmings are telling us, warning us human types, that we need to pay attention, or we stand to suffer their fate.

How to tell if you are becoming a Lemming:

5.  Are you a follower?  Once Lemmings feel a trend coming on, they refuse to be left behind.  They will shoulder their competition out of the way to get where everyone else is going.  So, if you jump on every hot new social media platform, or follow the newest fads, you are in danger of becoming a Lemming.  If you owned a Pet Rock, opted for Betamax over VHS, participated in a Black friday Mall riot, or had a MySpace account, your Lemmingness is showing.



4.  Are you just plain mean?   In spite of weighing in at slightly more than a wet cotton ball, Lemmings are aggressive and stand out as a “Snow Owl Snack” in a barren arctic landscape.  It’s as if, these little creatures have an “Eat Me” sign on their backs.  Pay attention to me!  Watch every move I make!  Know any humans who fit this description?  Politicians, perhaps?  Have you noticed that extremists on either end of the political spectrum, a right wing tea bagger, or a lefty Commie liberal will do anything to get noticed?  It’s aggressive and often crosses the hate line.  If you’re following the party line, you might be a Lemming.

courtesy of twistedstfter.com

courtesy of twistedstfter.com

3. Are you a lonely Lemming?  Lemmings are solitary creatures by nature.  They keep to themselves, except when they want a one night stand and don’t seem to interact with others of their kind.  If you tend to work in isolation and the only interaction you have with other humans is from behind a keyboard, you are at risk for conversion to Lemmingness.  To be honest, I could be quite content with limited “outside” interaction.   Many writers appear to fall into this trap, working in a solitary creative space.  At times, I have to force myself into social situations, before my inner Lemming starts to show.

courtesy of parentimage.com

writer checking in with the outside world

2. Are you Vegan?  Lemmings are vegan.  I know, I know, you don’t eat anything that casts a shadow.  Enough said.

1.  Are you goal oriented?  For Lemmings, the grass is always greener on the other side of that cliff, and they are focused on getting there.  They don’t ever appear to be content with what they have and strive to find more, and something better.  They follow, because the “other guy” (or Lemming) must know where the good stuff is hidden.  If people describe you as determined, single-minded, laser-focused, or if you text and walk into traffic, your Lemming is showing.

So, how’d we do?

If you exhibited none of these traits of Lemminghood, you lied to yourself.  Go back and retake the test and be honest.

If you said yes to one or two of these characteristics, don’t worry.  You appear to have strong human DNA, are a leader, free thinker and dance to the music playing in your head.

Three or four? You, my friend are in in danger of conversion.  You can be swayed by slick talking politicians, follow every known Pinterest Board and have text messaged while driving.  Stop Now.  Go out and talk to a real person, before it is to late.

All five?  Embrace your Lemminghood.  Be one with the Lemming, just watch that last step.




  1. I have human DNA so I guess it is safe to go near cliffs 🙂 Your writing always makes me smile, James.

    1. Don’t be afraid to embrace your inner Lemming, Diane.

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