Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Meditations on a Walrus

As I was walking down the strand, as is my wont after lunch before returning to the office, I chanced upon this scene. The more I looked at it, the more I became engrossed by it.

The closed eyes lent a serenity to what was otherwise rather pathetic remnant of a young male walrus who has lost his head, or lost his body depending on your point of view. The address tag was a nice surreal touch, and begged the question for whom the head was intended or whether it was on sale.

My mind began to wonder other things: Who placed it there right on the shore of our wharf? Why did they do it? Was it forgotten? Or did it accidentally fall out of someone's truck and roll there? Might it have been washed ashore by the recent winds?

Is it a portent of misfortune or a sign of good luck? Why haven't the dogs eaten it?* What is the collective noun for a group of walruses?** Was it Paul or John who was the walrus? What excuse can I come up with for being so late back to work after lunch?

Here is a Canadian bilingual pun - did the hunter feel any remorse?***

Walruses have been kind to this blog - a full 18% of all entry pages to The White Bear's Blog is accounted for by one single post I did early in my career, something about walruses' genitalia. I wonder if this entry will garner as much interest.

* In reality, dogs seem turn their snouts up at walrus skin and blubber, and won't eat it generally. Nor will people.

** The actual terms for a group of walruses are the unimaginative "herd" or "pod" as reported by people who collect collective nouns. I'm sure we can up with something more evocative of these huge, brooding, stinking beasts. Any ideas?

*** Did any of you get it?

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Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

0 dead seals and one very dead walrus. should have poached the ivory while you had the chance.

8:57 PM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Aw. Poor walrus.

11:20 PM  
Blogger marty said...

I didn't know my lazy fat asshole boss's wife was in Canada?

10:48 AM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Nab the tusks for me and I'll see what I can do about getting you some whiskey...

5:47 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I don't know about the genitalia, but I know where you could get a little walrus head...

12:32 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Sorry about the delay, but I'm on the road and access is a problem. I'll respond later today or tomorrow. My apologies.

3:31 PM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

As a Buddhist, I am sad for the poor walrus who could have had a nice life. Maybe he will reincarnate into a butterfly... Teehee... :)As a Canadian, I know how men LOVE hunting (I have a few hunters around me) It's for the meat they say. As a Blogger, I love your photo.... *heheheheh* :)

8:16 AM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

It was not Ringo who was the walrus?

8:17 AM  
Blogger D said...

Everyone needs a little head now and again.

11:54 AM  
Blogger she said...

curious juxtaposition of a violent end and a peaceful face. a cute and gentle face. this image makes me flash on everything from the severed horse head in the godfather ( a message sent although no need for tag in that case) to the time a neighborhood boy executed a bull frog on a homemade electric chair fashioned out of a coffee can wired to a battery...i was held down by my own brother and made to watch. later i repaid them by waiting for the perfect opportunity to beat one of frog killers with a chain dog leash. er....sorry. i droned on....thanks for the memories. grrrherhaha

8:18 PM  
Blogger Ricardipus said...

Poor old walrus. I feel sorry for it. I rather like walruses.

I didn't get the joke, but I gave up French after Grade 12. Like many Canadians, I am therefore semi-bilingual.

And I'm thinking a Wall of Walruses, or a Rush of Walruses, or a Ruse of Walruses, or a Walloping of Walruses, or a Lumbering of Walruses, or a Lounge of Walruses, are all a) better than "herd" or "pod", and b) still not very good.

/useless comment mode

5:09 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Still "whacking the ol'walrus" there nanuk??

4:04 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Hi guys, sorry about the delay, but it's hard to get online on the road.

Phos: Are you suggesting that the collective noun for a group of walruses should be a "whack of Walruses"? I like the alliteration.

Ricardipus: I'd go with lounge - that's what they seem to do most of the hear is just lie out on the shore and bask around, the couch potato of the marine mammal world.

She: I thought of The Godfather as well. And remind me not to tie you down especially if there are chains near by.

d: Amen to that, sister.

merlinprincesse: up here the only reason people hunt walruses is for the meat. The ivory is a by-product. Actually, walrus meat afficianados tend to be older, and I don't know of many young Inuit who like eating the rotted walrus dish called igunaaq. So I think that numbers will not be under pressure from overhunting in the future.

Marty: a male walrus weighs in at nearly a tonne. Is she that fat?

WoD: At least we should immortalize him - could Ricardipus, Phos or any of you write a short elegy?

5:21 PM  
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2:08 AM  

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