Monday, June 28, 2010

This year, at the Australian Psychic Expo, presenting Paul the Oracle Octopus!

There's an interesting new trend around lately. The art of people aiming to predict the future has been around for aeons, but this just takes the biscuit.
Yes. People are now relying on cephalopods to predict 2010 World Cup match outcomes.
Anyway, as my brother and I discussed (with a lot of outrage), this is quite distressing as an image of human society. I didn't believe him at first when he told me.

SCENE: The kitchen.
TASH is making dinner.
CHRIS: [bursts in] There's apparently a psychic octopus.
TASH: I didn't think such a thing existed beyond fantasy novels.
CHRIS: Sydney Morning Herald website has it. The octopus chooses food from certain tanks and that predicts the World Cup match winners.

Of course, I fled to my computer, leaving Chris to manage the rice, and searched.
I maintain that:
  1. The octopus is lazy, and moves towards whichever jar its tentacles are closer to.
  2. The octopus goes to any jar, and the crafty keepers switch the flags over when they find out the scores. "So, Paul climbed into the Swiss jar." "Just in, guys. Chile won." "Curses! You know the drill, men. Change the flags."
  3. The octopus, having German handlers, chose the German jar out of fear of being killed and eaten in bite-sized Paul sushi-bits.
Anyway, 18 minutes after the German/English game, Paul has come out triumphant. He's not getting eaten tonight. Paul's going to get a lap of honour. Paul's going to get a religion (or cult) devoted to him. Paulism. There will be hundreds - nay, thousands of people chasing after poor octopodes/octopi/octopuses (whatever sinks your Titanic), seeing if they, too, are able to predict the future.

And what next? Paulism will be taken to the extremes. Forget Captain Jack adorning teenagers' walls and women's hearts. Davy Jones, the poster-boy for today's World Cup fanatic, is going to be plastered everywhere. Bill Nighy won't be able to appear without being mobbed, and people begging him to put on the tentacles, even when he assures them it's all just CGI. "Can I have a pet octopus?" children will beg. Tentacles will be the norm, and if your hair isn't sprouting some near Medusa-style (though of course without the snake heads) fashion, well, forget it, you're out.

Meanwhile, Paul himself, he's lost his will to live. Paul wants to be under the sea in his garden, in the shade, possibly serenading some lost Beatles. But instead, Paul's confined. "Tell us the outcome of this match!" will be ringing in his ears, a near heartbeat for the poor guy. And Paul just sits there, wondering why. His parents never thought he'd end up this way. Sure, he may be the figurehead of a dominant cult, but he was destined for a life of mediocrity. Mate, spawn off some young, live to maybe take down a ship or at least just eat some things and squish about. Paul's lying, listless, in his tank, thinking there should be more to life than climbing into jars. His climbing into that German tank, so long ago - well, that was just a life-prolonging move. Paul is desperate. Paul feverishly clunks lids into place before his minders can applaud, hoping not only to drown out their cheers and adulation, but to cut off maybe just enough oxygen that he dies. Paul knows he is not long for this world, but still, as he peers out of the glass enclosure, all he longs for is the simple life. He wishes he'd never climbed into that tank.

But the tentacled-haired youth are staring back at him, breathing heavily on the glass, with t-shirts declaring their passion.
I kissed an octopus and I liked it!
Mrs Paul Cephalopod to YOU.
Team Paul!
I only date boys with 8 legs.
And their dates, with arms possessively looped around their girlfriends, glare at Paul. It's all Paul's fault, of course. "Where's your ink sac?" they ask, pointedly. "Why aren't you slimy and wet?"

Paul never meant for this to happen. Paul only wanted to steal some mollusc bits in a bowl and escape death.

But now, now he's wondering... was it worth it?
Heck, maybe he should have been cut up and made into sushi, and his ink into pasta. It would have been far more fulfilling than being the latest fad.
...and the World Cup hasn't even ended yet.

NOTE: Yes, I did compare an octopus to Twilight fanaticism.
Yes, I despise Twilight. I'm on Team Sane.
No, I am not crazy. I'm not the one asking for a sparkly, old, abusive, near misogynistic boyfriend. That's you.
And yes, I have a flair for the dramatic.

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