Interview with Pronking Springbok
Interview with Pronking Springbok
My supernatural sensitivity tells me that you may have a couple of questions based on that title … like what is Pronking? and what is a Springbok? Right? So I will no longer keep you in suspense.
On my recent trip to South Africa, I encountered a verbal springbok who consented to be interviewed by means of my telepathic ability. Here is what I learned.
me – Thank you for taking the time to communicate with me, Mr. Springbok.
Springbok – Happy to do so. You can call me Strat.
me – Strat? That’s an unusual name.
Strat – It’s short for Stratford. My mother was a BIG Shakespeare fan.
me – You were named for Stratford-upon-Avon? William Shakespeare’s birthplace?
Strat – That’s right. But it could have been worse. She could have named me Avon!
[We both laugh]
me – Strat, you are a very handsome animal, if you don’t mind my saying so. What exactly is a springbok?
Strat – We are a type of antelope that has thrived in the severe desert environment of South Africa for more than 500,000 years.
me – And the name, springbok?
Strat –In the Afrikaans/Dutch language, ‘bok’ means male antelope and ‘spring’ means jump. Springbok is jumping antelope.
me – I have learned that your Latin name is Antidorcas marsupialis. What exactly does that mean?
Strat – I haven’t a clue! [laughing]
me – You’re kidding me. Right?
Strat – Right! The description, marsupialis, derives from the Latin word, marsupium, or pocket. We male springboks have them.
me – Are you similar to kangaroos that are known as marsupials? Do female springboks have a pouch or pocket in which to raise their young?
Strat – No. And you cannot see my pocket until I pronk.
me – I beg your pardon.
Strat – Pronking is one of our unique capabilities. Only the most fit and athletic male springboks – like me – have the ability to pronk.
That's me in the photo . . . pronking!
me – What does that word mean?
Strat – Pronking is an Afrikaans word meaning to show off, to boast.
Take a look at this video and you will see springboks pronking.
Springboks Pronking to Intimidate Predators
New Sneakers to Help You Pronk
me – That is amazing. How high can you pronk, I mean, jump?
Strat – Would you believe we springboks can leap more than 6½ feet high and up to l3 feet through the air?
me – Do you pronk only to show off?
Strat – That’s a good question. We males indulge in ‘pronking’ which is also known as ‘stotting’ to display our strength and athletic ability to warn predators that they have little chance of catching us.
We are no slouches at running either since we can reach speeds up to 62 miles per hour.
me – Who are your major enemies?
Strat – Lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas want to have us for dinner. Humans want our skins which make beautiful coats.
me – It seems that the ability to pronk helps to keep you safe from harm.
Strat –That’s not all it does. When we pronk, we display our pocket-like skin flap which extends along the middle of our back toward our tail. I call that crest of snowy white fur my D.B.T.
me – D. B. T.?
Strat – My Date Bait Trait. Let me explain. When I pronk and display my ability to jump high into the air, the flaps of skin on the pocket on my back appear to turn inside out and reveal a handsome fan of bright white fur.
me – That must really impress the females.
Strat – It’s not just the beautiful white fur that impresses them. It’s the scented secretion from glands beneath my skin that excites them. The scent smells like honey to humans and entices the ladies.
me – I can easily imagine the producers of men’s colognes trying to replicate that scent.
Strat – If you ever manage to bring that idea to market, I’m all in!
There is one more aspect of pronking I should mention. Often, we springbok bucks simply pronk for enjoyment – it is our interpretation of jumping for joy.
me – Fats Waller, an American entertainer, may have been inspired by your pronking when he created the 1937 song, "The Joint is Jumpin'."
Here’s a great spin-off of “The Joint is Jumpin’” with Mickey Rooney, Jose Iturbi (pianist) and Judy Garland: “The Joint is Really Jumpin’ in Carnegie Hall“ (1943).
me – Thank you, Strat, for sharing all this springbok lore. It has been a pleasure to meet you. Mag jy leef en goed. May you live and be well. And keep on pronkin’.
Strat – Ciao. Dankie. Dieselfde vir jou. Thank you, same to you.
For your enjoyment, here is an ‘antelope’ pun Strat shared with me:
Once upon a time, a beautiful young female antelope had a big date with a handsome bok, so she prepared by getting a new dress, makeup, the works.
As she was running across the desert to meet her date, she was stampeded by a herd of wild beasts, and became the first self-dressed, stamped antelope.
I know, I groaned, too.
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2014. All rights reserved.
Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."
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