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Down the Hatchet

It’s Hard to Fondle Penguins

By Akshay Patil

I decided it would only be fit to dedicate my last column of the year to the one question that everyone seems to ask -- the question people scribble on my white board, scream outside my door at night, and politely ask at parties. It is a question asked by friends, acquaintances, professors, and even random people on the street. It is an incisive question -- one that cuts deep and strips me down (philosophically) to my essence and questions my very being. I am perpetually immersed in an inquisitive world, a world where even when I open my window, I can hear the wind rustle through the trees, asking me “What the hell is up with your penguin obsession?”

First of all, I don’t understand the use of the word “obsession.” I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a healthy appreciation for the wonder and joy that is nature’s greatest flightless waterfowl. They’re always well dressed, they waddle, and they go crazy over fish.

Now I know penguins get a bad rap from some people, especially the media. This is why I feel the need to dispel a few common myths about penguins:

Myth #1: Penguins are trying to kill Batman.

In reality, penguins love Batman. If Batman ever walked into a bar, all the penguins would be tripping over each stubby other to buy Batman a drink, rub some spandex, and get him to sign their beaks. In fact, Batman’s nemesis known as “The Penguin” is really a man named Oswald Cobblepot who just wishes he were a penguin. I mean, seriously, how many penguins have umbrellas? They freaking live on a big iceberg!

Myth #2: Penguins really wouldn’t be as good looking if nature hadn’t given them all built-in formal wear.

Which came first, the penguin or the tuxedo? Come to think of it, which looks better, your average penguin or your average naked person? There’s a reason why penguins don’t wear “human suits.”

Myth #3: All penguins use LINUX.

While Tux is a great hero among his brethren, some in the waddle* feel that he’s sold out. They were fine with the whole “Peace, Love, Tux the Penguin” advertising campaign, but the moment he got his own hit computer game (TuxRacer), penguins started to think he’d gone a bit overboard. In actuality, most penguins don’t even have computers and spend most of their time swimming, eating, mating, and watching TV.

Myth #4: Penguins evolved from seagulls.

According to Scientific Penguinism, Penguins were created in Newark, New Jersey in 1912. The earth isn’t round, either. Yep! It’s shaped like a burrito!

Myth #5: Penguins are diamond thieves.

This is a myth propagated by the claymation industry. Feathers McGraw is, in all actuality, a rooster in a penguin suit. How else could a penguin pull of the rooster ruse so believably? Penguins are notoriously bad actors and don’t have the faintest clue about operating Techno-Trousers.

Myth #6: Penguins push/trip other penguins into ice holes.

I know there’s an incriminating video going around, but you’ll have to trust me when I say it’s a forgery. The evil penguin is computer generated and the poor penguin victim just happened not to be the brightest waterfowl in the waddle.

So, as you can see, there’s really no reason not to love penguins. I, for one, think this world would be a better place if we had more of them. Penguin lust is a beautiful and natural feeling that you should embrace.

Just remember, together we can achieve the American Dream -- a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a penguin in every home. What a wonderful world this would be.

*The 4th International Penguin Conference, held during September 2000 in Chile, agreed that the proper nomenclature for a group of penguins on land is a “waddle” and, for a group in the water, a “raft.”