Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ripped From The Headlines (but not very recently)

Today’s topic:
Bethany Hamilton, your new role model

I was talking to a colleague on the phone one night and she happened to tell me about the interview airing on 20/20 with Bethany Hamilton, the 13-yr-old surfing ace whose arm was nipped off by a shark Halloween morning. We both made a point of watching, because this is a rare opportunity to observe on national TV the behavior of a brand-new recruit concealing the first stages of her transformation. You’ll all be receiving tapes of this interview in your mailboxes soon. Every one of us has felt the transformation from the inside, but we rarely get to observe it from the outside – especially with the option to rewind and replay.


>> It's NOT just Keanu...I guess they ALL talk that way in Hawaii!

>> That kid is really focused. She didn't lose her cool when a shark the size of a Volkswagen bus snapped her arm off. Her only thought at the time was whether she was going to lose her sponsorships because of it. Three weeks later she was already toning up to get back on a surfboard. You apparently cannot keep her away from the water. This girl lives out of my territory, but she is the type I would feel lucky to have as an operative.

>> Speaking of focus, I would like you to notice that even during the videotaping of this, the most profound turning point in her life to date, Bethany did not leak ANYTHING on the air. I’m beaing in mind that this segment could have been pared down from many hours of taped interviews, and the parings COULD have been full of security breaches, but I think not. Look at the way she carefully gives those super-bland answers to the interviewer guy, neatly dodging the potential areas of risky intelligence by pretending to be too blonde to understand the questions. (Yes – the Naked Apes still believe in the Dumb Blonde stereotype. Pass the bleach.) If she surfs the way she thinks, hoo boy! Her sports career may be over, but I wouldn’t shed a tear for her just yet. Behold the next Worldwide Fish Conspiracy Leader!

>> I haven’t called our Pacific Islands Cabal Leader to check yet, but I came away with the distinct impression that this Shark bite was a moment of mutual consent, with months of preparation before the moment of transfer. It must have been amazing to see it all go down. In any case she accomplished her mission perfectly, and I know that’s not easy when the operative is so much bigger than the new contact. This makes the subsequent murder of our contact operative even more sickening to me. This was a Tiger Shark of rare subtlety with her best years ahead of her. We will all miss her terribly. A moment of silence, please, for the loss of one of the Pacific’s finest.

>> The speedy capture and killing of a shark like this one should have been impossible. All I can think is that she needed to sacrifice herself for security reasons. Again, I haven’t had time to call and check on the details with Squinky at Pacific Islands Takeover Central HQ.

>> I had to laugh at the segment of film that showed Bethany in her hospital gown, chatting amiably with a surfer-dude friend who lost a leg the same way she lost her arm. They marvelled together at how the bites didn't hurt at all. I can never get over how scared people are of Sharks. And up here on dry land, only you and I know what it really means when someone is painlessly bitten by a Shark.

>> I can detect only one whiff of the possibility that Bethany revealed too much, and it’s SO faint that no Naked Ape would ever catch it. Everyone, but everyone, is more upset about this than she is. In reality, of course, she’s modestly underplaying the fact that she can now bask in her new destiny, knowing she will one day join us in the sea forever. To a human viewer she just seems terribly plucky in the face of personal disaster. I can never get over how easy it is to conceal oneself behind human stereotypes. THEY DON’T SEE WHAT GOES ON RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR EYES. Don’t you have to love it?


>> We’ve all heard that Kuno the Killer Katfish Catfish was himself killed this summer in the severe heatwave that wiped out so many humans in Europe, including many of our newest operatives in France. Kuno worked out of Volksgarten Park Lake in the Berlin area for years, accidentally finding fame when he consumed someone’s Dachshund puppy while training a newer operative. This happy accident took Kuno’s recruitment numbers higher than those of any other European Catfish in decades. I feel compelled to add that although the news organs and his adoring fans describe him as enormous, even comparing him to Nessie, he is not really all that large for a member of his species. At least I’ve seen bigger. But you know how the Naked Apes are. Tell them something is a certain way and they will see it that way, from that day forward, no matter what happens to change their perspective. This is a great advantage that works for us every day in the field. All you and I have to tell them is that we have a rare disease and from then on they will see us as tragically ill…NOT as people happily transforming into fish.

But I digress. The strangely happy postscript to this story is that Kuno will continue to make new contacts once he is stuffed, mounted and put on public display by the city of Bremen. Now, I know this is a VERY TOUCHY ISSUE and I DON’T want to start another big debate on the subject, but try to read this next sentence without getting mad: I think we need to carefully take note of how many new contacts we make through Kuno in the museum. As much as we all love the ancient tradition of humans who spend decades tracking lake and river monsters too wily to be caught, I STILL THINK IT’S WORTH INVESTIGATING to see how much different the results are when those elusive creatures are, in fact, caught. End of subject. Just think it over, OK?


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