for 23 May 1996. Updated every THURSDAY.


Garbo Of The Deep

the "Garbo of the Deep." They'll
be sorry.
partially-destroyed clipping from
the New York Times, are hot on the
trail of the giant squid. The
seldom-seen animal is called "a
living legend" - like Eric Clapton,
or Roy Orbison before he died. A
slightly star-struck team, led by
the Smithsonian's "Mr. Squid," Dr.
Clyde Roper, is planning to take a
submersible down 3,000 feet to
investigate an area off the coast of
New Zealand that appears to be
particularly squid-laden. The
article trumpets the expedition as a
chance for marine biology to take a
great leap forward - researchers
know little of how the squid "eats
and rests, courts and mates."
NOW, I DON'T know much about
squids, giant or otherwise, but I
live pretty quietly. I always figured
that if I wanted to get one, I
could, but I guess that's not the
case. Anyway, say what you will
about dispassionate scientific
inquiry; I can think of nothing more
repulsive than watching giant squids
having sex (except for selected
college roommates). I guess that's
why I wasn't asked to be on the
IT APPEARS THAT giant squids have
been showing up more frequently,
since overfishing is forcing them to
hunt in shallower and shallower
waters. Can squids on beaches be far
behind? But the potential threat
from the giant squid isn't the only
reason for leaving the giant squid
alone; here are a few others:
ALL OF THE species that we discover
end up dead. Does anybody notice a
pattern here? It's like a bad
made-for-TV movie.
IT COULD BE dangerous. A giant
squid, the Times article reads, can
grow as large as a city bus, but
runs much cleaner. The submersible,
on the other hand, isn't much larger
than Elvis during his fat period.
The fact that Dr. Roper "seems to
have no fear that the submersible
will be wrapped in giant tentacles
and crippled" suggests that we may
have a latter-day Ahab on our hands.
A compassionate society would act to
save Dr. Roper from himself.
WHY ARE THEY bugging the giant
squid? To sell it goods and
services, obviously. Sure, they'll
feed us some line about "pursuit of
knowledge" and "the scientific
method," but that's what they said
about the hydrogen bomb, and
remember how much trouble that got
us into? The cold war may be over,
but I don't relish the prospect of a
squid race with Japan or Germany or
anyone else. At the same time, the
consumer squid market is relatively
untapped. Think about how many
burritos a giant squid could eat,
once it developed a taste for them.
And we could teach giant squids to
shave, after we figured out where
their upper lip was. If we could get
the lady squids to shave their
legs... the mind boggles.
THERE IS A distinct possibility
that the giant squid is much smarter
than we think. The Times article
says that the giant squid has nerve
fibers so large that they were
mistaken for veins. While, like mom
used to say, it may be true that
"large nerve fibers don't make you
intelligent," it is a possibility.
Hell, the giant squid has got to be
fairly sharp to keep its home a
secret all this time - admittedly, a
great strategy for avoiding long
distance company pitch calls during
dinner time. Anyway, can you imagine
what sort of an uproar there'd be if
we found out that most of the
Beatles' songs were written by a
giant squid? A bad uproar, let me
tell you. Not one of those good
BUT DESPITE ALL these reasons to
the contrary, Dr. Roper and his gang
of squidophiles will not rest until
they have thoroughly investigated
the secret home of the giant squid,
including its immense sock drawer
and its boxes of love letters and
pictures of old girlfriends.
Therefore, if I were a giant squid
(and how do you know I'm not?), this
is what I'd do: 1) order $120 worth
of Chinese takeout; 2) eat part of
everything; 3) leave the rest around
the apartment until it rots; 4) go
live at Mr. Giant Lobster's until
the heat dies down.
THEN, WHEN THE Ropermobile comes
buzzing around, all they'll see is
comic books, dirty clothes, and a
few dead house plants. Pretty soon,
they'll smell the rotten food and
take off. It works like a charm - no
scientists have been around my place
for months.
OR, THE GIANT squid could just eat

courtesy of
Bay B. Food