Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Of mice and mermen

Rarely do I sit. Even as a writer (like full-time, meager bread and butter writer), my ability to sit still for long periods of time evades me. It is backlash from all of those 3-hour seminars in college. Put the hungover kid with adult ADHD in an ancient history class, conducted solely in Mandarin, yeah that's a good idea. Good thinking on my part, too.

So, for me to sit, to actually sit down and be engaged is rare. Books are the lone exception. Books and Legos. Now, imagine my reaction to television...

So, there I was, sitting on the couch, completely engrossed in a documentary on the Discovery Channel. I mean completely engrossed. Like, don't get up to pee, get popcorn, eat, drink, smoke--that kind of engrossed. No, it wasn't about the meth trade or dangerous-ass gold mining under the ice in the Bering Sea (people will do anything for a buck, I swear to God).

Mermaids, people. I was watching a show about mermaids. Not the folklore of mermaids, or the symbolism, or mermaid depictions throughout the centuries (although there was a lot of that stuff, too) but about the ACTUAL supposed discovery of a mermaid corpse along the coast of South Africa. And sightings on the Washington Coast. A team of scientists and their discovery and the subsequent confiscation of all of the samples and specimens and evidence (by the government, of course). All that research and hope --gone. A big conspiracy, really. According to the "film" or whatever you want to call it, the government is blasting the shit out of sea life using sonar blasts that riddle holes through every creature within a certain radius. And the theory, according to these scientists, is that the sonar blasts are being directed specifically at these humanoid sea creatures in order to kill them. All of them.

I know what you're thinking. I know. It's ridiculous. You will now boycott this blog because the author has clearly lost her f***ing mind. Or you will continue reading for the sheer joy of tracing my descent into madness via the internet. Or, you might be thinking really hard right now about mermaids.

When I was a kid, back when, as my brother would say, "Shit was different," I dreamed of being...a marine biologist. Swear to god. I read a few Madeline L'Engle books and learned to hold my breath for a long time and swim as fast as I could and studied up on dolphins and whales and squids. I even remember having the thought that, as NASA was sending shuttle after shuttle into the unknown, that the real undiscovered country was in the sea.

"What morons," I thought to myself. "They're gonna miss everything."

The mermaid thing has got me thinking. Hard. What if it's true? What if they are there, what's left of them, deep in the sea, knowing to hide from their land family because, well, apparently we'll kill them. I mean, look what happened to the Native Americans, and to Black Africans and to Jews and gypsies and gays and lesbians and women and poor people...Can you imagine having a f***ing tail and webbed fingers?! I shudder to think. And yet, it makes me so sad to realize that there are creatures, amazing creatures out there that to see them would be a spiritual experience beyond all knowing.

And yet, I hope no one ever spots them. Ever. History speaks for itself. And fear reigns over history. I have seen enough inexplicable things in my lifetime to know that anything...I mean possible. Just read the Bible if you doubt me on this one. Risen from the dead? Belly of a whale? Parting of the sea? Mermaids aren't far off the mark.

But if you see one, don't tell a soul. Definitely take a picture with your iPhone. Keep it, and maybe tell your grandkids while you're dying. But not a moment before.

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