I was Jake's insurance policy. He thought maybe he wouldn't have to use me. He hoped, anyway. But down deep he knew, and I knew, and we both hid the truth from the others because Cassie couldn't let Jake make that decision, and Tobias couldn't let me, and those two, by loving us, would have screwed everything up. It was a war, after all. A war we had to win.
Jake, our fearless leader. On a crazed kamikaze mission. I'd never seen him like this. Even in our lowest moments, he'd always been steady. Resolute. He weighed the costs, made a decision, forged ahead. And I'd always wondered how he did it. How he kept it straight in his mind. Yeerks. Visser One. Aliens conquering humans, conquering the planet. Fighting the enemy without becoming like them. How did he sort through all that? The emotions, the ethical dilemmas, the moral crises? How did he wrap his brain around it all so he could make logical decisions? Smart decisions. The kind that saved the lives of his team. The kind that set the enemy back a small step or two. But now I knew. Jake didn't understand any of it better than the rest of us did. If he defeated the Yeerks, freed humanity, rescued Earth, that was good. But that was just a bonus. His main goal was much simpler. To save his family. That goal was what had given him strength. That goal was what had kept him sane. Allowed him to retain a center of calm focus amid the awful chaos. His family. [Animorph #49: The Diversion]
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We talked about talking. (We had been interrupting Ms. Diz a lot). She said that when someone is talking, you listen with your ears. And save your questions for the end. Then you use your mouth. Even if you see something that is a miracle. Like a squirrel with a blue Matchbox car in his mouth. Which I saw yesterday. You are not allowed to jump up and scream, 'MS. DIZ I SEE A SQUIRREL WITH A MATCHBOX CAR IN HIS MOUTH OR MAYBE IT'S AN SUV!! I AM NOT KIDDING MS. DIZ!!
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Anger is precious. A silverback uses his anger to maintain order and warn his troop of danger. When my father beat his chest, it was to say, Beware, listen, I am in charge. I am angry to protect you, because that is what I was born to do. Here in my domain, there is no one to protect.
My family tree spreads wide as well. I am a great ape, and you are a great ape, and so are chimpanzees and orangutans and bonobos, all of us distant and distrustful cousins. I know this is troubling. I too find it hard to believe there is a connection across time and space, linking me to a race of ill-mannered clowns. Chimps. There's no excuse for them.
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You do not know me, but I am a juvenile delinquent. I do not trust authority figures, I probably will not graduate from high school, and statistics say my present rowdiness and vandalism will likely lead to more serious crimes. I am a dangerous fellow, and I am causing mayhem in this store. [...] There. I have now shamelessly destroyed the symmetry of this shelf, undoing hours of labor by underpaid store employees. If you could see me, you would be frightened.
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But mostly, I remembered what I've always believed. What my mom taught me. That while some things are just plain awful, most things in life can be seen either tragic or comic. And it's your choice. Is life a big, long, tiresome slog from sadness to regret to guilt to resentment to self-pity? Or is life weird, outrageous, bizarre, ironic, and just stupid? Gotta go with stupid. It's not the easy way out. Self pity is the easiest thing in the world. Finding the humor, the irony, the slight justification for a skewed, skeptical optimism. That's tough. - Marco, Animorphs #35: The Proposal
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