Friday, July 13, 2007

Something For The Weekend 24

Dave… the great Circle of Life... what’s that all about, eh? I know that at such a tender age, you and your other young “friends” think it’s just a standout melody from one of those musical theatre productions you’re always begging me to go and see with you. However, for those of us not so light on our feet, it’s a subject that hangs over us constantly, casting a dark, brooding shadow and beckoning us onwards towards the edge of the abyss with its long, gnarly finger. But enough of the cheery banter… here’s a sobering little philosophical tale for you to ponder this weekend.

Unsurprisingly, after the devastating departure of Dana on Sunday afternoon, this week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I thought the prospect of pizza for dinner on Sunday would raise my spirits somewhat but when I got home and discovered that the “Pepperoni Party” was four days past its expiration date, my despair spiralled further downwards to previously uncharted depths.

Monday at work was a grind but at least I had an hour of five-a-side football to look forward to in the evening, all the more appealing since the sun seems to have returned to Scotland after its eleven-month, two-week sojourn elsewhere. (Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘sojourn’ before. I wonder what it means?)

For the first few minutes of the game, the physical exertion of each lung-bursting run – or “stroll”, to use the proper terminology – seemed to take my mind off Dana but when I ended up almost punching Bruce for looking at me the wrong way, I knew the raw emotions were still bubbling way too close to the surface.

So on Wednesday night I decided to take some positive steps to cheer myself up and try and move on since, as Kell kindly pointed out, this is what Dana would’ve wanted. What better way then than to sit down and watch that feel-good, cartoon movie classic, “March Of The Penguins”, where all the wee happy-go-lucky inhabitants of Antarctica sing and dance and embark on crazy adventures while listening to Stevie Wonder all day.

Imagine my surprise and disappointment then when I discovered that a different penguin movie seemed to have been mistakenly put in the box; a movie set in an icy world where Stevie Wonder was nowhere to be seen. Or heard.

At the beginning of this “story”, the penguins walked – or “marched” – 70+ miles in winter to hook up with a date and get themselves a little “penguin-love”. Then, no sooner had the females gone through the so-called “trauma of egg-birth”, did they piss off back to the coast with their girlfriends for a spa treat, some swimming and a right good feed, leaving their male partners to stand in almost perpetual darkness for ten weeks, balancing the egg precariously on their toes and bearing the brunt of the coldest and harshest storms on the planet.

Throughout the movie, the booming voice of God was played by Morgan Freeman and he was at pains to point out that not only is this a remarkable story of survival but the penguins have been carrying out this same ritual for millions of years. MILLIONS. Doing the SAME THING over and over despite the cold and the marching AND – Warning: avert children’s eyes from your computer screen immediately – the fact that some don’t survive the trek or drop the egg and kill their unborn chick or never find a partner or other similarly tragic fates.

In between my frustration of not seeing any little happy feet tap-dancing to “Superstition”, I couldn’t help reflecting that surely one forward-thinking penguin, at some point during the past several millions of years, must’ve spoken up and suggested a different strategy. Alternative breeding grounds? Shorter walk? A fairer split of the egg-balancing / spa treat duties? Woolly hats? Winters in Florida?

I mean… imagine if it was you and me. (In general terms obviously – not “egg-making”.) Leaving your play area in winter with no clothes on to walk 70 miles to Dundee to find an attractive member of the opposite sex (a major achievement in its own right) and then indulging in your only “knee trembler” of the year is one thing. But if you were then expected to remain in Dundee for ten weeks in the dark whilst performing some tricky egg-balancing manoeuvre with your toes, I think you’d be starting to ask some serious questions.

So there you go… the Circle of Life is indeed a great riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Elton John. If that’s the soundtrack to God’s great plan for the penguins, I’ll take the theory of evolution and Stevie Wonder any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.


At 13/7/07 9:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, they need some sort of process improvement change manager type to come in and sort it out.

Oh no wait, they're male penguins aren't they ?

Have a great gig on the 27th


At 13/7/07 1:54 pm, Blogger Kell said...

Maybe a dram of Highland Park would help?

At 16/7/07 2:59 pm, Anonymous Bama said...

So sorry about the pizza. I guess I should be thankful that I can have fresh hot pizza delivered to my door anytime of day or night....

Coming from a woman's p-o-v, the "plight of the male penquin" sounds pretty fair to me. If they've been working on this for millions of years, I'd say they're probably well-equipped for the challenge.

At 16/7/07 8:51 pm, Blogger Lena said...

Standing in almost perpetual darkness for ten weeks, and bearing the brunt of the coldest and harshest storms on the planet?

I've done similar for the January sales!


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