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Thursday, February 27, 2014

If a Tail Splashes...


Just sit right back

And you’ll hear a tale

A tale of a fateful trip.

That started from this tropic port

Aboard this tiny ship.

 

In case you didn’t watch as many episodes as I did, that’s the theme song from Gilligan’s Island, a cute sitcom from the 1960s. I remembered all but three words from the first stanza, which either demonstrates how great my memory is or how much of my cramped brain space is occupied by random things like sitcom lyrics. Since I often misplace things, the quality of my memory can’t be considered crystal clear. Why do I remember things like tv show lyrics rather than the location of the important paper I’m trying to find? (Rhetorical question #831.)

Gilligan’s Island is on my mind because the show started with five passengers aboard a tiny ship, and ships are on my mind because it’s whale watching season. 20,000 gray whales migrate 10,000 miles from the Bering Sea to Baja California Sur, making it the longest mammal migration in the world. Usually I forget about the whales’ journey past San Diego during what we call winter in San Diego (shorts weather, with occasional need for a sweatshirt). I was reminded of this last weekend, when my friend Roxie went whale watching with her family. Her older daughter loves animals and patiently waited to spot whales. Her perseverance was rewarded when they saw two types of dolphins and two grey whales. Roxie’s younger daughter watched a bit, but lost interest after a while and instead kept her eyes open for mermaids. Apparently she saw several!

This reminded me of my own whale watching adventure. When I was nineteen a few friends invited me to go on a whale watching boat. I remember that it was a cold, gray morning. The boat ride was scheduled to take three or four hours, and after we’d been out for hours I began to wonder if the whales would make an appearance at all. What if this was akin to Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster sightings? (Rare and unconfirmed.) Eventually the whales did stop by for a moment. At least that is what I was told. They made their grand entrance during the one minute I bend down to tie my shoe. I swear I’m not making this up. Remember, wacky things like this comprise my life, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to miss the whales’ one, brief show. Did I feel a little cheated? Yes, a bit. But all is not lost. For here I am, 21 years later, blogging about that moment and (hopefully) giving you a laugh.

My life often resembles the blooper reel, the movie outtakes that don’t make the actual film but show all the funny “oops” moments that happen behind the scenes. My presence here on earth is a string of wacky moments, ones I don’t mind sharing in this blog because laughing about them feels right. Perhaps I should have gone into writing for sitcoms. I’d have endless material from my own life, from which to draw!

You remember the question about a tree falling in a forest, right? My version is this: If I tale splashes and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course! But don’t ask me—I missed the action while I was tying my shoe laces!

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