Why Killer Whales Make Horrible Guidance Counselors

Alternate version of Image:Orca_size.svg
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In recent years I have attended a show which features a killer whale. Twice, in fact. And, while I’m sure this wasn’t the intention, it left me with an insatiable desire to correct the errant messages that were communicated via the jumping skills of this large mammal. Allow me to explain.

As the show opens, the audience sits with bated breath while gigantic video screens move into place. We see a boy. He’s probably 10. Nice young lad. He’s whittling. He whittles a perfect whale tail.

Now, children, just a moment. Let me clarify something for you: you cannot whittle a perfect whale tail. Don’t worry, that kid couldn’t do it, either. That’s what we call “movie magic”. If you try that at home you will, without fail, cut your opposing thumbs off. Just FYI. Moving on…

The young lad peers out the window with the introspection of a wise old soul. In the distance…the ocean. What’s that? A splash! Could it be…? Yes, by all means, lad, go! Find out what’s out there!

Moments later, the boy is on the beach. Alone. With a kayak. Now, children: no. This is not allowed. You cannot go to a vacant beach unsupervised. Where are this kid’s parents?! But never mind that, for…what is that? A splash! Could it be…?

At this point, the boy gets in the kayak. WHAT? For real? Paddle, paddle, paddle…out to the ocean. THE. OCEAN. Alone. And what is he pursuing? A whale! That’s your reaction, kid? Oooh…a whale! I should go get it alone in my tiny kayak so it can jump on me and I can die! Children, this is a bad idea. A very, very bad idea. Don’t do this. Your parents will crap their pants out of fear. Literally crap their pants. Just imagine how long you will be grounded if you are the cause of pants-crapping.

But not in the movie. No sir-ee. The lad believes in his destiny to kayak right next to a whale and—SPLASH! It jumps out of the water like it’s putting on a show just for him! Amazing!

So, you know—tada. That’s the end of the movie that is, apparently, about the dumbest latchkey kid to ever have wizard-level whittling skills. But wait. What’s this? It’s a real, live whale here in the whale tank! Yay! Look at it swim about and such! And here comes a dude! And that dude is RIDING THE FREAKING WHALE! Oh, man. That’s super cool. But whaaaa? What is that on his neck? Could it be…? It’s the whale tail on a necklace!

Now, children. Let’s reach back to that lesson about movie magic we learned earlier. This is not real, live, grown-up, dummy latchkey kid. It just isn’t. And that dude didn’t whittle that whale tail, either. He got it from the gift shop. It was made in China. Possibly by a 10 year-old, actually, but that’s another topic.

What they’re trying to say to you, young lambs, is that if you sucker your parents into buying you that whale tail, and if you come back to this bedazzled place 800 times, and if you run about with reckless abandon trying to get eaten by a whale, you will end up riding a killer whale for a living. This is not true. Not even in the slightest.

Now, I’m a big fan of dreaming. You absolutely should dream. Lots of people dream to be, and then become, teachers. Or an accountants. Or truck drivers. Or: secretaries; store clerks; general managers; or customer service representatives. Or probably 1000 other things that aren’t dude-that-rides-a-whale-for-a-living-at-an-emotionally-manipulative-theme-park. And—now this is the key—there’s nothing wrong with that.

Please, children, ignore all this silliness. Go be awesome and sensible and grow up to be the best derned office clerks you can be.

Why Killer Whales Make Horrible Guidance Counselors

I’m Being Labotomized by an Internet Game Involving Candy

Hard candy
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Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening. Today, and for many days, in fact.

I have this little silly habit of getting hooked on puzzle games. It’s weird. And slightly pathetic. I’m not exactly sure why I’m choosing to share this personal tidbit, in fact, because I’m bound to have a formidable amount of shame about it later. Nonetheless, read on…

So, I found a new game involving shiny little candies. You swap them around and try to get them to line up in a certain way and, when they do, they explode and you get points. If you get them to line up in trickier ways, you get special candies. Then, if you line those special candies up together they just blow the crap out of all the candies with lightning bolts and all kinds of fanfare. It’s not the most original game of all time, but I like it. Probably because of the shiny candies.

It started out fun. A click here, a click there, kapow! Kablam! Fun, right? I mean, who doesn’t like exploding candy? And then I got a little better. And I figured out how to get a higher score. I got a star, even. TWO stars. This was getting good.

But then…disaster. My score started lowering. Hmm. That can’t be right. I was getting kinda awesome at this. But alas, my score was, indeed, going down. There was significantly less kapow. And barely any kablam. What the hell?

So, as any self-respecting adult would do, I doubled my efforts. I furrowed my brow and mustered all my concentration as I clicked the “Play Again” button. A few minutes later…dangit. “Play Again.” Dangit. “Play Again.” Son of a… seriously! The more I play, the lower my score. The lower my score, the more I want to play again to get a better score. So here I am, playing the candy game like a fiend, I tell you, and I don’t even have mad shiny candy game skills to show for my effort!

All the while I have other, awesome, creative things I could be doing with my time. They’re sitting in the corner of my mind all cold, skinny and gray from neglect. And the stress of that reality grates on my fragile psyche. I need a break. Some down time. I need to blow the crap outta some candies.

If Benjamin Franklin were alive, and in my apartment, he would straight up murder me.

I’m Being Labotomized by an Internet Game Involving Candy