reckon that the vampire squid is the best evidence yet that either i) God doesn?t exist or ii) God, like the rest of us, occasionally wakes up in a bad mood and decides to take it out on someone else.
The difference being that instead of reducing a hapless employee to a quivering wreck or spitting in the boss?s coffee, God creates and unleashes a horrifying nightmare creature upon an unsuspecting world before taking some ibuprofen and going back to bed.
Am I exaggerating? No. The scientific name for this beastie is Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, which literally translates as ?vampire squid from hell?. Now, if you consider how restrained scientists normally are when naming creatures, the fact that they think that the most accurate way of describing this one is as a blood-drinking monster from the flaming underworld should give you some idea of its awful nature.
Wikipedia helpfully adds: ?Its gelatinous body varies in color between velvety jet-black and pale reddish, depending on location and lighting conditions. A webbing of skin connects its eight arms, each lined with rows of fleshy spines; the inside of this ?cloak? is black. Its limpid, globular eyes?which appear red or blue, also depending on lighting?are proportionately the largest in the animal kingdom. Vampire Squid ?fly? through the water by flapping their fins. Their powerful beak-like jaws are as white as ivory. If threatened, instead of ink, a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus containing innumerable orbs of blue light is ejected from the arm tips.?
Gelatinous. Webbing. Eight Arms. Fleshy Spines. Giant eyes. Powerful beak-like jaws. Bioluminescent mucus. These are not words to inspire happy, carefree thoughts. These are words used by small children to describe the inhabitants of their most terrifying dreams (although I accept that most seven year olds might struggle with ?bioluminescent mucus?). Now, you may wonder why I have drawn such a delightful picture (and I apologize to any readers who are now going to avoid swimming in the sea for the foreseeable future). Please rest assured that the answer will follow later.
In the meantime, this month?s case is a tragic tale ? in summary, a nineteen-year-old American called George Baldwin who went to a party with three friends. Beer was drunk at the party. One of the teenagers decided to drive home after having a drink, and gave George a lift. The car crashed, leaving George a paraplegic. The driver was convicted of drink-driving. George sued for $2.5 million dollars.
So far, so normal. In fact, even if you argue that in getting into the car with a drunk driver, George was the partial author of his own misfortune, you can see that this is a case where someone has clearly suffered a great deal through the actions of another, and deserves compensation. However, there is a twist. The person George sued was Lauralee Pfeifer. Who wasn?t the driver. Who wasn?t at the party. Who didn?t even know the party was happening. Who was in fact the mother of the girl who had hosted the party.
Patrick Salvi, who was Baldwin?s lawyer, said Pfeifer?s daughters, then 16 and 17, invited his client and other teenage friends for a party. He contended that despite repeated opportunities, Lauralee Pfeifer never tried to stop the teens from drinking beer and becoming intoxicated in an upstairs bedroom, and was therefore responsible for the consequences. He said, ?I think the message should be there can be no tolerance of underage drinking in your home whatsoever.? Despite Mrs Pfeifer arguing that she had no idea that they had sneaked beer into the house, her insurance company stepped in and settled the claim.
So ? in the view of these particular morons, a nineteen-year-old man who can vote, marry, join the army and watch all kinds of freaky porn and horror films has so little responsibility for his own actions that merely allowing him the opportunity to have a drink in your own home makes you liable for anything that may happen to him ? even if it?s caused by another person?s drink-driving. Using that argument, I suppose that at least he hadn?t had sex and got someone pregnant ? because then poor Mrs Pfeifer would be entirely responsible for the costs of raising the child for the next eighteen years. Because it would obviously be all her fault, and nothing at all to do with some halfwitted teenagers doing what halfwitted teenagers have always done ? ie drink and do stupid things, with or without parental consent.
I might even get sued for writing such awesome articles because someone might laugh out loud at the wrong time, end up accidentally offending a passing hypersensitive idiot and subsequently kill them in a bloody brawl. And it would all be my fault ? unless of course someone with a brain happened to be involved in the judicial process, in which case the matter would be booted so far from the courtroom that it might end up on Mars.
So, why the vampire squid? Well, after reading about this case, I was almost shaking with rage at the patent stupidity and injustice of it all. I was so angry that I spent a fair amount of time wondering what I would do to the persons involved – bar the Pfiefers, who have clearly suffered enough – if I ever met them (and had access to Dr Evil-style resources). After some consideration, I decided that I would have each of them tied up, suspended from a crane and slowly lowered (head-first) into an enormous tank of water. And what do you think would be in the tank, swarming towards the unprotected faces of the struggling victims? Exactly.
Advocate X has been asked by Jersey Tourism to point out that there have been no confirmed sightings of vampire squid off the coast of Jersey. And that you if you?re bored at work, you can read an archive of Advocate X articles on the Gallery website ? www.gallerymagazine.co.uk.