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Squid #403
(published October 9, 2008)
Ask The Giant Squid: A Mollusk Does Not a Cephalopod Make
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

I received this question from my mother and thought you might best answer it, as it concerns a mollusk.

"Do snails hop?"



Dear Kristy,

I have a question for you as well. Seeing as you are a human, could you tell me what this monkey is thinking? Why does he wear the iPod when he has no computer to update the playlists, nor outlet electrique via which he might replenish its oft-exhausted battery? Also, is he listening to the Decemberists, despite their twee lyricism and feeble sea-chantistry?

But why should you know the inner-workings of the monkey machinery in the simian brain? How would you know what drives the tiny furry creature to purchase audio devices it cannot use and run up bad debt it cannot possibly pay down? You are not a monkey, after all. Yes, you may have both evolved from a common ancestor, but that is not enough, is it? You may have trudged together up the genetic down-escalator, awash in adenine and thiamine, guanine and cytosine, sweating off the buckets and straining your hips and thighs. But, at one floor of Darwin's great Department Store of Wonders, your monkey brethren hopped off, narrowly avoiding the jagged teeth nipping at her exposed toes, while you, the human, pounded for another few floors further, and taking your exit at the "enlarged pre-frontal lobe and concomitant delusions of grandeur" floor.

I am a giant squid. An exceptional giant squid, at that. Architeuthis Rex Mundi in the latin. True, I am of the phylum Mollusca, like your daring dart snail, but he is of the low class of Gastropoda (a "bellyfoot," twanging on his ill-tuned guitar), while I dwell in the loftier waters Cephalopda (a "headfoot," box-stepping and reducing quadratic equations in but a single step). A shared phylum hardly makes one close neighbors. In fact, my limbs shudder at the association. My skin ripples into unpleasant hues. Upon reflection, the human-monkey analogy was far too kind. Imagine instead we were walking down the street on our limbs, shoes firmly affixed, and whistling merry tunes with our blubbery facelips. We are in a park, where tall grasses blow in the wind breeze, and fruit dangles threateningly on their boughs. Many babies rock-a-bye high in the tree's tops, ignorant of their peril. I make a churlish reference to politics. You laugh and clutch my arm-limb with your tentacles. The day is warm and the lack of water pressure fails to cause our bodies to explode across the thoroughfare. The sun heats our skin without burning us too poorly. In short: It is pleasant. Then we pass a dog—a delicious breed perhaps, like a labrador. The dog defecates, turns and devours the defecation with glee, then fills out an absentee ballot, registering his vote for John MacCain of the Clan of MacCain. I turn to you and ask, "Seeing as you are of the class Mammalia—just like brother dog squatting a thither—explain: Why does that dog eat his own filth and throw his vote away?"

Snails are mollusks, true, but they never even boarded the evolutionary escalator that brainiacs such as we fought so hard to surmount. They took one look at their slime covered bodies, their rudimentary shells, their sensory eyestalks (or, rather, each eyestalk to one look at the other, simultaneously) and decided that they had quite enough of evolution and Darwin's wondrous retail extravaganza, and would instead while out the remainder of eternity slowly traversing a nutella crêpe discarded upon the linoleum Cartesian plane of the food court.

Snails are morons.

As for your entertaining picture, it does call out to my intellect. Thank you, Kristy, for passing it hence, for my detailed consideration.

I have formulated a sextet of hypotheses. We encourage you to gather snails and test these, or better still, hunt down the original photographed snail and interview it. Be patient. Snails enjoy rambling exegeses on the proper manner of shell construction, the various types of grasses that may be devoured and what each type of grass does to one's mucus, and how all birds are "assholes."

I see the future now, Kristy, and it is not pleasant, crowded as it is with smoking, cellphone-yammering, mystery demystifying mollusks, hopping from place to place with reckless abandon. It is a future in which, Mulderlike, we keep watching the skies at every moment, but not to catch the glimpse of visitors from the beyond, but simply to add a few seconds to our attempts to dodge the ever-strengthening deluge of slime from above. It is a brave and terrible age you usher in with your simple snap shot.

Nonetheless, I Remain,
The Giant Squid

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