You’ve seen it happen again and again. Someone throws a fish to a seal, he goes “Ork ork,” catches it in his mouth, swallows it and comes back for another.
Yet if somebody throws a fish to a man, it slaps against his nose and falls to the ground. In disbelief he barks “You think I’m going to swallow that raw? What if I choke on a bone? What happened to the tartar sauce? The lemon slice?”
Within this little scenario lies the one core truth about life not covered by The Laws of Physics or The Rules of Duck, Duck, Goose.
Consider the seal. Not a seal embossed in red wax on an important document such as the Magna Carta, or a note from the chief prosecuting nun to your mother. Talking here about your basic, orking type seal, a meat-eating, marine mammal looking for a few good fish (i.e. Semper Fi-sh)
Interesting point: Most seals have no more than a fourth grade education. They simply cannot comprehend that diphthong has an “hth” in the middle. (Easy fix: think of the word dipong and imagine marine-eating mammals whose initials are HTH parachuting into the middle.)
Seals do their best sealing in cold places like Antarctica, our upstairs bathroom and Minot, North Dakota. In that city the mayor is actually part-seal and part-ice-sculpture.
Seals are often slick, quite naked and unpretentious—except for those few who pretend they are spiritual counselors to the Kardashians. While seals bark like dogs, they are known for their cat-like refusal to grant interviews and, of course, their well-knotted macramé plant hangers.
It is often remarked of them “Give a seal a fish and you feed him for a nano-second. Teach a seal to fish and he will say ‘Stop, already. I’m a seal for God’s sake. Just keep tossing me them flounders.’”
In comparison, consider Mankind–with a capital M. Both the he and the she version of Mankind are mammals, but no matter how many years of schooling the he version has, he likes to pretend he knows nothing four to five times an hour. The she version desperately hopes no one she knows is watching or thinking she is with Mr. He-He.
He-Man is full of contradictions. He thinks of himself as slick, but wears a corduroy suit. He loves sushi, but won’t swallow a raw salmon whole. He brags about big balls, but prefers golf to bowling. He wants to impress the chickie babes, but he has the moves of a Zamboni.
The divide between seal and man is wide. Essentially one barks like a seal and the other is a seal. Mr. Seal is comfortable in his own skin, while He-Man is comfortable only in a gorilla suit (if unavailable, the top coat of a garden mole named Maurice of Lichtenstein.)
Seals accept their lot in life and they get it (i.e., a lot of fresh fish.) Sadly, by shutting his mouth at the wrong time, He-Man, doesn’t get it and waits in line forever at McDonald’s for the sullen, world-hating guy who does the fish sandwiches to move his buns.
It may be that She-Man also doesn’t get it, but fish mongers will not toss a fish her way. Probably out of some misguided sexist stereotype that presumes She-Man would be no better than He-Man at catching fish in her teeth.
Or, more probable, that she would be ten times better at it. And, it goes without saying, just a tad less likely to be a chickie babe.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.