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Revenge of the Sea Creatures

Dec
5
2006

Just in case you were wondering, we now know how it will all end: not with a bang or a whimper, but with a splash and a chomp, as pollution-crazed sea creatures drag us all down to the watery depths. It’s good to know, because now that we do, we can check that off the list. The end, find out how it’s coming: check.
I for one am relieved, and I expect you are too, though you might be wondering how I know this; well the signs are clear for anyone looking. The sea lions are of course the clear tip-off. Consider this – sea lions are snacking on human sushi, taking a bite out of a random person-limb here or there. Scientists suggest sea lion brain damage induced by human-dumped toxins is one possible explanation for the new behavior. And what else could be driving them to these extremes? A shortage of fish. Well, we know whose fault that one is too.
We’ve driven the sea lions mad. And worst of all, they’ve gone over the edge without even a bit of thanks for the countless soggy, tasteless clam-chowder-soaked sourdough bread bowls dropped into the harbor at Fisherman’s Wharf. Still, everyone knows you can’t expect a sea lion to be grateful, and if you do you’re as mad as they are.
The fish shortage news finally explained what we’ve all been wondering about, those shark attacks over the past few summers. Was it a new hunger for human flesh, was it something to be worried about, was it a non-trend hyped because of a combination of slow news periods and the inherent interest in shark attacks on humans (hey, lots of people like to swim in the ocean) and compounded by the fact that we’re incapable of calculating our real statistical possibilities of facing various dangers? In any case, now we know what was going on: no fish means sharks need new food sources. So sharks went for the fast super-sized version – people.
Sharks eating people matches our “Jaws” stereotypes; when in doubt in an ocean movie, throw in a shark or two. Like the one I caught the other day. “Dark Waters” had lots of big sharks in it that were apparently genetically modified. I’m not completely sure because the movie happened to appear on a screen in my house when it was halfway through. I’m thinking of revising my lifetime worst movie list to include it, although I did watch it with Chinese subtitles, which improved the experience even though I don’t speak Chinese. And of course I watched it, so what does that mean? It was your basic heavy testosterone flick: sharks versus men and one tough chick in a wet spaghetti-strap tank top, and lots of military types shouting “now, now, now, now.”
So OK, sharks are sharks. But sea lions? Aren’t they our buddies? I mean, some of them even get SeaWorld performance contracts. What more can we offer them? Of course we’ve seen how much your average marine mammal values that. That Shamu-type killer whale who pulled a trainer down recently has apparently been trying to carry out his attack for years, biding his time, striking when he can exploit a moment of weakness. Really, a killer whale at SeaWorld – that’s the big time, and he’s still an ungrateful creature.
If the killer whales get the dolphins on board though, we’re really in trouble. Because the dolphins have always been our best hope for ocean allies. I think I speak for all of us when I say we were all hoping that when fish supplies get really low they might return the dolphin-show favor and toss a few tuna back our way.
There’s a line that sticks with you from the classic sci fi film “The Day of the Triffids”, about human-eating plants attacking a society where almost everyone is blind from watching a meteor shower. As a couple is trying to save themselves, the husband says, “There’s no sense in getting killed by a plant.”
How true that is. So the next time a sea lion sticks a flipper up on the pier to trip you into the water, and you manage to bop it on the nose and get away, just remember one thing: careful with the seaweed.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 2:25 AM | Permalink

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