austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Life is strange at the bottom of the ocean, you won't believe the things you see

I'd like to start by pointing out I do not eat calamari. I'd much rather leave the poor squid alone. I would like very much to cast this as a moral stance, but it's helped by my dislike of eating things with suckers. Maybe there are good edibles coming from suckerdom, but the texture bugs me and I'm left afraid things will stick to my throat until I'm get this separation anxiety regarding oxygen in my life, and then the putative meal would have ended about as badly as could for all parties involved. Even the cook and the waiter would probably come out regretting their part, if they have any conscience and I didn't just get it from the molecular replicator again.

Probably you guessed I'm worried by terrifying news out of San Diego. Apparently a flock of five-foot-long flying squid have started washing up on shore, some of them after ``roughing up unsuspecting divers'', according to the Associated Press. The adjective hardly seems necessary, because what diver goes into the water suspecting they'll be roughed up by hundred-pound flying squid? Divers who start suspecting that will happen confine their diving to safer waters, such as water tanks in Kazakhstan, or maybe just poking the shower door with a stick. A very dry stick.

If I have it right these are ``Humboldt squid'', so I think they have something to do with the great scientist and naturalist Something Something Something von Humboldt, who did great work in the fields of science and naturism, without whom we wouldn't understand something we understand today. I think it connects to the Grand Canyon. Assuming the squid are named for him probably he either discovered them or was instrumental in getting them into the major leagues, squidwide. Considering they weigh around a hundred pounds, can swim fifteen miles per hour, hunt in schools of twelve hundred squid, it's no surprise they're eight games ahead of the Washington Nationals, who rarely skim over the surface of the water to escape predators because this is allowed only in the American League.

If they are invading, I don't want to be marked for revenge in sprays of Humboldt ink. I don't deserve it. Live and let live, that's how I've treated squid. I confess I never actually spoke up against the 1980s fad of sticking squid to the backs of car windows on the chance they were those deep sea ones that make their own light shows. But I felt very disapproving of it and made several allusions about it on two of the dial-in Commodore BBSes I patronized. I would produce that evidence except it was in a many-forum argument about Max Headroom versus Commander Data and I had the screen name 'Star Fleet Commander 2000', so I want it all buried as deeply as possible, and am investigating water tanks in Kazakhstan as a proper burial ground. Don't mention that I said any of this here.

If the squid (remember the squid?) aren't going to accept my good wishes this serves as a reminder of one of the annoying parts of nature, which is it keeps tossing alarming and worrisome creatures at you. It's would get me to hide in bed under the sheets all day, except that thanks to nature again the pillow and the mattress are full of bedbug entities. They start nice and hygienic and stuffed full of the soft fluffy seeds of the bedberry bush, which it is convenient for me to believe is harvested in ecologically sound ways by workers not undergoing particular physical or mental duress. But within moments of your body touching it, bugs consume the bedding fibers and shed cells of your skin or feathers or what have you and why do you have that, so within twenty minutes I'm sleeping in a Petri dish and it's all your fault for touching my bed.

I don't want squid problems. I've done nothing to earn squid problems. Mercifully I'm not in San Diego so there's probably days before the squid start invading around me. This gives me time to get a stick with which I can poke the shower door.

Trivia: After splashing down the Apollo 11 hatch was swabbed down with Betadine, an organic iodine solution, and the astronauts and recovery personnell decontaminated their clothing with a sodium hypochlorite solution. Source: Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History Of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions, William David Compton, NASA SP-4214.

Currently Reading: Defining NASA: The Historical Debate Over The Agency's Mission, W D Kay.


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