Monday, April 10, 2006

where will they find a shoebox big enough?

The sad reality of cat and dog ownership is that you will most likely outlive your pets. It isn't something one wants to contemplate until that day draws painfully near, but these creatures, no matter how much like children we treat and think of them, will not survive to carry on without us. If we are lucky we will get to spend a good twelve or so years with them before they pass peacefully at the end of a happy life.
Not like Old Yeller.
No. Rabid dogs do not in fact live long and happy lives...and neither do dogs who are fed baking soda and made to look rabid by vengeful and heartless puppets who then convince the owner that it is best for all involved if the animal is given the "Old Yeller treatment".
The bastard tried to chew my leg off.
But we are not here to open old wounds.
What were you getting at, Captain Bringdown?
I've been thinking quite about a recently deceased giant aldabra tortoise by the name of "Addwaitya" who passed away at the Kolkata, India zoo from kidney failure last month. He was 250 freakin' years old.
Giant turtles are known for their longevity, and I knew it wasn't unheard of for them to surpass a couple of centuries, but this fact somehow remains as unfathomable with each pondering as it was the first time I heard it. It is not unlike that recurring jolt of confusion that overtakes every non-Californian each time they catch the phrase "Governor Schwarzenegger" in the midst of an actual news story.
Addwaitya was originally the pet of a British military officer by the name of Robert Clive. Clive died in 1774. The turtle then lived through the time of the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the Industrial Revolution, the reign of Queen Victoria, the American Civil War, the advent of the airplane, both World Wars, the moon landing, the release of Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, the rise and fall of Lee Majors as a viable television action star, my 1999 wedding to the lovely Mrs. Camino, that whole "millennium thing" that didn't end up in a big computer snafu and therefore meant that I had to show up to work on New Year's Day to open the damn bookstore and let all the old people in to drink coffee and flip through the magazines and talk to me while I feigned interest through a hangover, the election of the aforementioned Schwarzenegger, and the death of Pat Morita.
All the while the turtle sat there drinking, not knowing that the day would come when his kidneys could take no more. Oh, the tragedy of it all.
As you can see, Mr. Clive did not have to bury his pet turtle. Neither did his son, grandson, great-grandson, great-great grandson, great-great-great grandson, great-great-great-great grandson, or great-great-great-great-great grandson.
I suppose that a person wanting a long-lasting pet can also invest in a large bird, but parrots and their ilk have been known to bite off the fingers or peck out the eyes of their owners and then perch nearby and laugh a shrill and evil laugh.
Turtles rarely perch.
They don't take pleasure in your pain either, but it is rather difficult to curl up on the couch and watch you favorite episodes of "The Fall Guy" with a giant aldabra tortoise.


Blogger Rita said...

I'm pretty certain Ulli watches television with his turtle in his lap. I believe he calls his turtle a terrapin.

You can read all about that here, provided you can stomach the clingfilm fetish:

12:47 PM  
Blogger Vol Abroad said...

that must have been a heckuva shoebox for that turtle

5:19 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

OhMiGawd! Pat Morita died!!??

Do you remember a few years ago when someone caught an enormous lobster up in Maine (or somewhere) that was estimated to be over 100-150 years old? It was shipped to some aquarium, where it promptly died. I felt really sorry for that lobster.

In related news, my brother recently traveled to the Galapagos and saw those monster turtles there. Those things are amazing. Very Darwinish.

1:33 PM  

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