Upon watching a special on TV of the world's top ten best sea creatures this past week, I couldn't help but happily notice that squids and octopus were ranked eighth. Hah. Not so superior after all. What do you have to say about that?
Co-Founder of the "I Hate The Giant Squid Fan Club"
Whenever one makes decisions and choices based upon "ranking" information, one must carefully inspect the organisms who are ultimately responsible for this purveyal of data.
An example to ease the strain upon your clearly addled mind (ranking squid like myself, the grand Architeuthis Architeuthis anywhere near the foul-mouthed and perpetually in-debt octopus is laughable): recently, upon ascending my new offices high atop a skyscraper in the bustling urbanopolis of Detroit, I sent my humble and efficient lab manager, Sang, out to procure me some sustenance. I had developed a dislike of the taste of wet dog, the moldering muskiness of the fur no longer sweet perfume to mine fine senses, the delicate suppleness of the flesh no longer ambrosia to my toothed and bladed tongue. I demanded of Sang a new food, a new joy. I entrusted myself to his opinions.
When one hears of an ordering of items, one must ask themselves upon which criteria is this ranking based? What insane criteria prompted an inbred and dope-addicted newsman to rank my species and kin as "eighth"? Was he perhaps ordering us based upon volume, number, skin hue? It surely must not have been strength or intelligence or mobility or ferocity or tenacious beauty. Squids have all of these qualities within spades.
Sang's criteria were similarly poor. Instead of asking himself: "Were I a god perched atop the Earth, what morsel would not taint my splendor? What foodstuff would not insult my all-shining glory? What comestible would be perfect for me as a paragon of evolution?" Sang instead brought before his mind the query-string: "What filthy grub do I stuff into my many orificia to please myself and friends at parties?" Or, perhaps, his searches were based upon the simple interrogative phrase: "How could I best insult my employer and liege?"
He could have brought me the supple gullet of a school child first flushed with sexual arousal. He could have procured, though with much more difficulty, the untainted liver of a well-aged and healthy living Windsorian auto worker. There are Polish sausages, draped in long and plump coils, in this city whose richness and magnificence would be enough to make Count Casimir Pulaski himself weep for his own long rotted away tongue to be back within his chap-fallen skull . . . in fact, as I think on this, there is a certain bread that I have known to be made by Hussite monks from the ground bones of their most cherished ancestors . . . ah, the manifold joys of bread!
Sang could have brought me something of that nature, and all would be well and good! I understand that Lord Master Ford is buried, carcass and suit-clothes, somewhere west of this megalopolis. Certainly a finely baked and delicate white bread might be made from the meal of his crumbling bones, so delicate and marvelous that even a tyrant might weep like an infant at his foul smelling mammal-mother's teat.
But no. Sang does not even engage in the ranking of even a fraction of those things possible in the squid-comestible universe. It is by narrowness, my Billy Boy, that all ranking must inevitably fail. Ranking must fail for your species because of the ridiculous narrowness of your corpi callosum. The Greatest Pop Songs of the Century? Laughable. The Finest Short Fictions of the Century as investigated by the profligate fool Updike? It is crushing to me. I cry every night.
And finally, what does Sang bring to me? What is Sang's "top food"? Into what nightmare world has he towed me, like a floating Jehovah on the waves?
He brought to me fried Bol-Ogna, which I do not entirely understand. It is a bland bit of mush made from assorted smooth muscles and organs of less than prime quality. It had been invented, as he tells me, by swarthy Italo-monkeys. I am to understand they named their city after the "meat." Sic semper Italia, my dear readers.
This is Sang's favorite food. And it is emblematic of your failure to understand what is to be ranked, groundlings.
The "best" sea creatures? What in all that you love and hold dear on this dry husk planet can you monkeymen possibly mean by "best"?
I look at the puckered up Bol-Ogna as it floats in the water, a halo of oil ringing the pink-brown disk. What am I supposed to do with it? I cannot relish the whimpering of the creature. I cannot subtly draw it into my confidence only to devour it at its most calm and loving, the taste of its sudden sense of betrayal as rich and pungent as any sauce one might concoct. I cannot spin threads out of its blood and loneliness. I cannot even make fun of it or offend it with blunt and vulgar language. What good is this disk of dead meat? It does not cry or love or want or need or dream or fear. Do you call this food? And if it is food to you, what in all that is terrible could that possibly mean about you monkeys?
"Best." Indeed. Best what? I am a devourer of meaning itself. I am that creature who understands the heart of entropy because I am that cold and ancient heart. And stomach as well. I am the country where love withers. My mind encompasses an eternal and boiling landscape of torment.
I cannot even picture what Bol-Ogna might mean for you. But it seems that it must rise from the same place in your pathetic souls whence comes your strange affection for the Octopoda of the world. The Octopoda: always a tidal cycle late and a sea-anemone husk short.
Perhaps, later, I shall tear off one of Sang's tentaclettes.
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