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. 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.