I am a bit of a hoe for metaphors, as anyone in my Yr12 Lit class will tell you. What I like about metaphors is that they’re subtle but also not. Like on the surface, it seems completely normal but peel away the skin and BAM the muscles that held it up become incredibly obvious. You thought Overeager Beager was just a random fun name (and it totally still is) but there is symbolism here. Let’s peel back a bit of the skin.

Beavers are engineers. Out of bark, leaves, branches and whatever else they can find, they build lodges for themselves up to 2.4m wide and 1m high. They shape the environment to their will by building dams to redirect the flow of water, much the same way that humans meld their environment so they can water whatever priorities they decide on. I mean just look at how this entire waterway has been changed by the beaver’s dams.

An overview of a large beaver dam complex in the Sequoia National Forest, Domeland Wilderness Area.

They do this with a relentless work ethic that I’d like to emulate. Indeed “eager beaver” is synonymous with an industrious person who always gets the job done.

If I was back in my Yr12 Lit class, I could try to stretch this metaphor by claiming that “beaver” is a tongue in cheek reference to my experience as a woman. But like, I was so not thinking about genitalia when I decided on this cute nickname. Also it grates me that this would reduce the entire experience of being a women to your genitalia, and people without “beavers” can still identify as women or femme. The “overeager” adjective also adds a whole lot of connotations that I don’t reaaaaally want in this semi-professional blog.

Lol so I just looked up “eager beaver” and the definition that comes after “someone who is very keen/damn excited/anxious for something” is “a girl…who is very interested and anxious to explore her sexual promiscuity…an easy hookup”. I guess the “beaver” interpretation is more legit now ugh. Centring an interpretation that focuses on a woman’s vag (and it’s perceived ‘overeagerness’) instead of her “damn excitement” for STEM happens enough in real world spaces already. It’s so ironic that it’s now cropping up in the blog title that I have literally created as a haven for my geekiness. I didn’t mean it to but that’s the point isn’t it – this stuff shadows you whether you want it to or not.

The exact wording of “overeager beager” actually came out of a convo I was having with a mate. I was explaining the intense nEwBiE eNeRgY of my meetings with Melon and Papaya back when I was still deciding whether to join their lab for my honours year. He promptly nicknamed me Overeager Beaver (well, oVeR EAgeR bEAveR) and it’s actually pretty apt, so thanks mate.

When you like something that is considered “teacher/parent/authority-figure approved” and can’t stop talking about it, you can come off as a bit of a prick. So I guess metaphors appeal to me because they’re a technique for hiding something in plain sight. Instead of spraying everyone with my overeagerness, it allows the only people who are really interested to see. My zoom background for example is this visualisation of all the co-citations in Nature papers over the past 150 years – super fucking nerdy. But unless you specifically ask me about it or happen to be familiar with data visualisations, it’s just a very aesthetic explosion. The beauty is obvious even if you don’t understand what it means.