The Aye Aye’s Middle Finger

In Madagascar, the locals say that if an Aye Aye points that middle finger at you, you are cursed.

I was unaware of the Aye Aye’s middle finger. A weird stick stuck on, joints and bones and a bit of tendon. Do you know what the thin end of a winter dead forsythia wand looks like? That’s a useful analogue for the Aye Aye’s middle finger. Another shrub or tree even has the same color, and the knobby places where the twigs failed even approximate finger joints—but I can’t remember which shrub or tree that might have been, so you’re stuck with the forsythia.

My son already knew about the Aye Aye’s middle finger. He seemed bored by it.

Aye Ayes use their withered stem to tap around a log and look for weak spots where grubs have dug. The animals listen to each tap, hoping for a hollow sound. When they hear a little more nothing coming back to them, they salivate. They chew through the wood, down close to the hollow spot, and then that terrible finger reveals another use. The Aye Aye plunges it in, jabbing at a grub. The finger has a claw on it, a hook to catch something white and slick. The white grub, snared on the dark dead finger, comes free of the wood. The Aye Aye eats.

And I watched all of this on TV and experienced an epiphany on my couch in my living room. I was not prepared to learn about the Aye Aye’s middle finger. “I have never seen anything like that,” I said. And I wasn’t kidding.

The knowledge alone of the Aye Aye’s middle finger is a curse. Bored by it? That’s no response. There’s no way to live a normal life, having witnessed the Aye Aye’s middle finger. You fall slavering on the ground. It’s all over.

The Aye Aye’s Middle Finger

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