The Whale

I choose whale


I’m generally a lazy person. In the movie “The Lobster,” Colin Farrell’s character had 45 days to find a mate or be transformed into an animal of his choosing. He chose to be a lobster because “they’re blue-blooded like aristocrats, they live for hundreds of years, are fertile their entire lives and I like the sea very much.” (An excellent choice). If I were in that movie, I would choose being a whale because whales are fat and lazy: they just open their mouths and food comes in. Whales too would also live for hundreds of years. The best part is that every now and then I would be able to beach myself and say things like “do you happen to have a bucket or a hose, bro?”

For the previous week, however, I had been working 16-hour days having two jobs (totally unwhale-like of me). The day job was my normal job for the city and the night job was for The World Science Festival. I also worked the event last year and I loved the environment I was in: being surrounded by the smartest people in the world (celebrity astro-physicists, marine biologists, rocket scientists) was kind of inspiring—not to mention my co-workers and boss are great people. So last month, I emailed my old boss for the Festival and asked if there were any openings this year even though I was already working full time. She gave me a night shift and I took it. Now the problem is that I had never worked this many hours in my life—I wasn’t sure how I would be able to manage it.

It ended up being a lot easier to do than I thought. Although my day job is stressful, the World Science Festival didn’t feel like a job at all. I felt like I was being paid to hang out with very smart, awesome people. There was also an unintended consequence from working two jobs: I lost weight. From 9am – 5pm, I would work my normal job at World Trade Center, then from 530pm-1130pm, I’d work at the Soho Grand Hotel where all the participant speakers were staying. This week I noticed my pants were very loose and I had to tighten my belt an extra notch. I guess not eating dinner and walking everywhere would have that effect.

When I saw the movie The Lobster a couple weeks ago, I was a little bit disappointed. My friend said it was the best movie he’d ever seen and the trailer looked amazing. When I watched it, I felt like it was too far removed from reality for me to relate (some of the scenarios are just ridiculous). But it’s also one of those movies that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s kind of like when Roger Ebert wrote a scathing review for Freddy Got Fingered, but like a decade later, he still thought about the movie. Well, it’s only a couple weeks later, but I’m still thinking about the movie and what animal I would be. This past week, after working so many hours and losing weight, I re-examined what animal I would be: I would be a dolphin.

Dolphins are slim and they don’t need sleep. Well, not like how land mammals sleep. For dolphins (and other cetaceans) sleep by undergoing “unihemispheric slow-wave sleep”. When it’s time to rest, dolphins will shut half of their brains during a four hour period while maintaining semi-consciousness (enough to go up for air, not drown, and watch for predators), then for the next four hours shut the other half of the brain and do the same thing.

I would make an excellent dolphin. I’m always awake but also half asleep and I love the ocean. The best part is that dolphins are whales and I’d still get to be a whale.


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