Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Honey, I Blew Up The Squids

Someone who commissions stories for BBC news online is entranced by the miracles of the animal kingdom. Enormous creatures, tiny creatures, creatures who think their parents are a totally different species of creature – these stories find a home on the BBC website with surprising frequency. I think that the individual responsible used to be a zoo keeper, a shark hunter or lion tamer, forced into a more gentle way of life by an exhausted spouse, sick of worrying about the day she'd go to meet her partner after work to find him waiting for her with an arm missing, or with his legs dangling from the mouth of a python. He's happy enough in his new job, but misses his daily brush with danger, and is known to confront any errant journalist missing their deadline with an upturned chair and a whip.

Today he is enraptured with the eyes of a colossal squid, which measure 11 inches across. And who can blame him? I anticipate the gelatinous lenses alone will be in huge demand from now on as organic breast implants. And just imagine the deep-fried squid rings – you could hula-hoop with them, if you were wearing a grease-resistant leotard. Fully grown, the creature in its entirety is almost twice the length of a double-decker bus. And on just such a bus – I am nothing if not an effortless welder of topics – I overheard this conversation on my way home from work this evening:

Commuter 1: 'Will you be voting tomorrow?'
Commuter 2: 'I might do. It depends what the weather's like.'

The power of democracy.

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