That being said, I learned something yesterday that blew my fucking mind.
Narwhals. Really. Exist.
WHAT THE FUCK?!!?!??!!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I can't even put into words how completely disturbed and shaken up I am by this revelation. Do you understand that I've spent my entire adult life thinking that narwhals are mythical creatures on par with unicorns, fairies, centaurs and cherubs? My entire fucking life. But guess what? They're as real as you and me! They are real creatures of the sea. They're fucking mammals for Christ's sake! They've been classified—that is how real they are! Do you know what blows my mind? I could be swimming in the Arctic Ocean and feasibly, out of nowhere, I could get impaled by the horn of a narwhal. And when news of my death reaches home, the baffling part won't be that a narwhal killed me, it will be why was I in the Arctic Ocean in the first place?" That's the troubling part. WHAT THE FUCK?! You know that scene in A Beautiful Mind when Russell Crow is standing before his intricate wall of magazine clippings and it suddenly dawns on him that there's no connection between the articles because he made the entire thing up and he's totally Schizophrenic? That is what I feel like right now. I've been google image searching narwhals for the past three hours now and the only thing standing between me and a panic attack is this comical illustration of Barack Obama riding one:
Allow me put you in my shoes for a moment. Let's talk about Dragons. Dragons are not real. Furthermore, it is widely accepted among all of Planet Earth that they're not real. Correct? Correct. Now, imagine that one day a friend casually drops into conversation that Dragons are real! But not only are they real, their population is thriving by the thousands in the Arctic and everybody knows this but you. It's common knowledge. You're the dumb-fuck for thinking they're mythological creatures. You're the weirdo. You're the one people look at with a concerned look in their eyes. You call your parents in shock and they just sigh heavily because this is one more thing that you've managed to let escape you. THAT'S ME! I'M THE DRAGON DUMB-FUCK!
This all started last Saturday night when it somehow came up in pre-Jäger Ball conversation with the Tulane Chris and Co-Blogger Chris that Narwhals "exist." Frankly, I 100% didn't believe them. My friends, bless their hearts, are assholes who think it's hilarious to misinform me about things so I look like an idiot when I repeat it later. Kind of like the time at the Cheesecake Factory when Helena—fully knowing I was on the Atkins Diet—told me that everybody knows whipped cream doesn't have carbs! so I face-raped like three plates full while she watched and silently laughed. Or the time Helena told me a "pundit" was a medieval council of elders who decide the fate of heretics and those who speak ill of the King. Or the time Helena told me it was a totally awesome idea to buy and wear a John Deere baby-tee. In retrospect, Helena is an asshole, but either way I totally thought the Chris's were fucking with me. I was randomly musing about this yesterday, giving myself a pat on the back for being so clever and out-smarting the Chris's when I made the horrible decision to google "Narwhal" for funsies. (And let's not lie, because management is here all week and I'm desperate to look like I'm actually doing something.) I clicked on Images. And there they were: NARWHALS. HONEST-TO-GOD NARWHALS. And thousands of educational websites about narwhals! And videos! And books! And a Twitter account! (@common_narwhal!)
Facts I learned about narwhals that blow my mind:
- They are real
- They can not talk
- Their horn is actually an incisor tooth
- They are predators
- SOME MALES HAVE DUAL TUSKS:
- There is only a single recorded case of a female narwhal with dual tusks
- They eat shrimp
- They can dive 4,500 feet under the sea and stay there for 25 minutes!
- Male narwhals rub one another's tusks together in an activity called "tusking," which makes me want to vomit
- Their tusks were sold in medieval times as unicorn horns and were worth up to twice their weight in gold
- Nobody knows the function of their tusks; they serve no evolutionary purpose!
BAHHHH WTF?!?!?! But you know what concerns me most? That I managed to get through 16 years of school without learning that narwhals are real animals. That in and of itself is baffling. I mean, I took college level biology and evolution. (Although the lowest grade I got in my entire college career was in evolution. In my defense, I took it with Alex and Helena and we spent the entire class making up comical mini-quizzes for each other about the random personal facts our professor would inject into his lectures and instead of studying, got drunk and free-styled about trilobites...so I guess that didn't help.) And! Apparently there's an entire chapter in Moby Dick on narwhals! I read that in AP Lit! And by I read that, I mean I read selected portions of the Cliffs Notes before giving up and asking my dad to write my paper for me because he loves that book and I'm a stupid, spoiled sack of shit. God damnit! I'm always looking for the easy way out.
I also feel a certain sense of betrayal that nobody bothered to tell me the truth about narwhals. I seriously sat at my computer yesterday slowly scrolling through my gchat contacts thinking, "All of you know that narwhals are real animals and not a single one of you told me...you are all TRAITORS!!!!1" Then I sent an email to my dad about my revelation and asked him why he never bothered to tell me. All I got in return was this incredibly snarky and condescending and email:
God damnit. I did used to think of badgers like that. I also thought that wolverines were just lady wolves for an embarrassing amount of time. But none of my animal enlightenments have disturbed me quite as much as this whole narwhal brouhaha. Why am I so clueless about animals? I've been to the zoo like 900 times. And the Natural History museum. And, you know, 16 years of fucking school. This is just so incredibly unsettling. I called my mom yesterday and told her I felt like I was going to have a panic attack and she barked at me to "get over it." "Why are you being so mean?!" I asked her. "[sigh] Meghan, there are plenty of things in life to get anxious about," she explained, "NARWHALS are not one of them."
We were just talking about Narwhals at dinner last night (again!!!). We were going to get you one for Christmas but we were worried about the horn (in reality a big tooth - paging Dr. Aroyo) getting caught in your clothes when you hugged it. Which you would do all the time because they are soooo huggable. We'll get you a My-Little Narwhal instead.
You never see anything about Narwhals on TV so you just don’t think about them. What a shame.
Next we’ll have to talk about the Jackalope, the mystical half Jack Rabbit and half antelope that roams free around the great American Southwest. Or Vampire Squid! Or flying snakes! Or Voles and Lemmings! Or Tasmanian Devils! And don’t get me started about the Amazonian insects the enter your skin through cuts and lay eggs there and then the larvae starts moving around so you can see your skin ripple. Or an Amazonian fish that swims up your “you know what.” So many great but little known animals that we just don’t talk about over dinner and a drink. Remember when you once thought of badgers like that?
I, madam, beg to differ. I leave you now with this education NatGeo video on narwhals that in my mind is just as disturbing as watching a snuff film. Enjoy: