Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classics (2000-2011)
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Squid #21
(published Late in the Year, 2000)
Ask the Giant Squid: Are These Questions From Finland?
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Well, Tom here again. Ever since the Squid went sick (or, perhaps, just a little bit before he went sick) we've been getting an inordinate number of hits from Finland. We don't have any theories about this co-incidence of time and event, but with all that data being streamed from darkest Scandinavia, these few questions have come through. They're sorta cryptic and sorta creepy. Though we have no real idea what exactly is going on, I'd bet the Squid would claim that "it is clear that those Finns have been sending some sort of Trojan Horse beneath the thin skin of these brief and gnomic questions." Whatever the hell that means. The Squid is paranoid. Squid are paranoid animals, in general. Betcha didn't know that. I know all sorts of things that people shouldn't know. God, I'm so tired.

Anyway, all that being said, we'll be good sports about this and try to answer these things.

Do you have good ideas how to spend the Christmas Eve?

No. No, I don't. I'm going to spend it basting a 35-ton cephalopod with antibiotic salves and watching a claymation Rudolph special on CBS.

I mean, I don't even get why folks would ask the GS a thing like this: he's a huge cephalopod who lives in a high-pressure tank in a Cincinnati skyscraper. You might as well ask him how to grill a steak. This whole Dear Abby schtick that he does, this is just a hobby. He has other plans, other designs. There is little he hates more than these effortlessly trivial questions. Every time he reads one of these it's "Tom, you earth-pig, does your species require instructions on how it might defecate upon itself?" Or, maybe "Tom, my mighty floss-receptacle, use your cute little paws to cleanse this crevasse while I regale you with tales of your stupid stupid genemates."

Is Paolo Di Canio leaving West Ham Utd because the team is not so competitive?

Who is Paolo Di Canio? What the hell is West Ham Utd? If this is the sort of thing that gets television coverage, I don't doubt that GS would have an opinion. Unfortunately, I haven't watched much TV since Alf went off the air, so I don't. Maybe Canio just wanted a change of scenery or work environment. Or maybe he was sick of his co-workers. Maybe I could identify with that.

How to relax from work stress?

First of all, when you are taking a breather, never ever sit next to the robotic arm.

Does my boss want to like me?

I get the feeling that you folks see the Squid as being one-third advice columnist, one-third Quiz Bowl and one-third Magic 8-Ball. That's so nuts, 'cause the whole "Ask the Giant Squid" schtick is really just the tip of the iceberg down here. You folks at home, you never hear about the Solarium, or the hydroponics project, or the headway that the GS has made in formulating a general solution to the "Traveling Salesman Problem"— which, for those of you not clued in to the vast and intractable problem of routing, makes the old "Bridges of Konigsburg" brain-teaser from college-level Number Theory courses look like a Dixie cup riddle. And, crap, if you know the stuff he gets up to at night— it'd scare you white, is all I'm saying.

Will I get the job I applied for?

Outcome Uncertain. Why not shake the 8-Ball again, Jorgen, and see what floats up?

Should the christmas be canceled?

Christ! What does this even MEAN?

Who is Bill Clinton?

I mean, the GS would have answers for these sorts of questions— he's pithy and has panache and style and, um, chutzpah, I guess. I have none of that. The Squid is like an optical router, a hydraulic-crusher, the 3rd through 7th floors of the NYC Public Library and Sean Connery all rolled up in a corn tortilla, topped with ancho-chile mayo sauce— the tangy stuff. He's got flavor He can do something with this; I CAN'T. These are like those screwy, buster questions middle-schoolers ask when they want to fuck with the substitute teacher. Why do you hate me?

What to do with this depression?

I was hired on as technical support— my degree is in kinesiology. Everything I know about hydrodynamics, welding, gas-mixing, atmospheric simulation, compression and decompression— I learned it all working for my dad every summer growing up. He was a salvage diver in the Gulf of Mexico. I'm not a marine biologist, not a telecommunications hardware expert, not a zookeeper, not a psychoanalyst and not a concubine.

Except for the simple fact that, nowadays, I am all of those things.

Why do I feel this way?

Too little sun? Too much Nitrogen in your Oxy feed? Pressure's a little too high in your tank? Oh, or maybe, just maybe a Napoleanic Squid uses you as his personal whipping boy and hygiene tool? Maybe that's what's got you down, lil fella. I'd understand, 'cause it's sure wearing on me.

Who will win a Formula One Championship in 2001

Paolo Di Canio, whoever the fuck he is.

Christ, stick a fork in me, I'm done. Happy Goddamn New Year.

Dear Giant Squid,
What should I eat on New Years Eve?

Screw it.

Screw it, screw it, ScrewIt, screwitscrewit.

I'm going home, I'm not coming in tomorrow. I'm taking a nice long bath, and let the carnivorous brine-shrimp and spiny fish come, 'cause I don't give a fuck anymore.

Tom, the Assistant Who's Had Enough

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see other pieces by this author | Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid? Read his blog posts and enjoy his anthem (and the post-ironic mid-1990s Japanese cover of same)

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