Interview With A Penguin

World Penguin Day was celebrated worldwide on April 25th with a fanfare of excitement and adoration by penguin enthusiasts everywhere.  The main approach for declaring penguin appreciation seemed to be via the internet: there were penguin photos emailed around, memes and cute pictures posted to facebook and tumblr (like the one below), penguin-themed google+ communities who wait all year for this day, and there were numerous “tweets” (whoa, tweets! birds! …so appropriate) sent out on twitter acknowledging the wonderful marine bird that is THE PENGUIN. 
Problem is, i totally missed it.    

Many of you who are familiar with my artwork will realize what an ultimate fail this was for me.  Penguins are my main characters and they have been in more pictures and have gone on more adventures than any of my other animals.  They are my “Mickey Mouse” if you will.  I should have not only been aware of World Penguin Day, but been counting down to it.  Ready to celebrate with the unveiling of a new penguin picture,  ready to plaster facebook with notes of tribute to my dear little friends, ready to make sure everyone around me also knows what a special day it is.  But NOPE.  The day passed me by without any penguin recognition on my part whatsoever. 

So, now that i have confessed my horrible oversight, we will celebrate penguins today… again.  Because every day should be Penguin Day! 



This is him: the penguin.  As you can see, penguins are big fans of disguises.  It makes sense too, when you consider their history.  It is shrouded in secrecy and is almost impossible to get any of them to talk about due to the possibility of information getting into the wrong hands (so i’m told).  I can’t even begin to guess what is such a big secret or what caused them to all go hide out in Antarctica, but that is where they reside now after having to leave their beloved tropical oasis home for reasons unknown. Somethings up, and I want to know what it is.

Penguins used to be warm weather, beach loving birds, and passed their days swimming, tossing a ball around, basking in the sun, and drinking passionfruit juice.  Not a bad life if you ask me.  So what would have caused them to give it all up for the frigid snow covered land they now all huddle up in?  I don’t even have a guess.  It was a sudden and unexpected departure too – one day they were enjoying the simple pleasures a tropical lifestyle has to offer, and the next, they were gone.  Just GONE.  They left behind their surf boards, their sun hats, their water toys, their snorkel gear… it was as if they had simply vanished overnight.  And now they won’t say why or for how long.  They are hiding from something, or someone
I’ve spent some time with them on a few occasions down there, but have also befriended one particular penguin who I think is beginning to trust me and maybe will one day divulge the secrets of the penguin world.  The first time I met him he was in Hawaii about to go surfing.  I’m not sure why he wasn’t in Antarctica with all the others, but there is so much that is a mystery that I can’t even begin to speculate about it.  Here is what I have been given permission to repeat from our meeting that day:
Me: So, you guys just all up and left the tropics? Just like that?
Penguin: Yes
Me: Do you want to expand on that at all?
Penguin: No
Me: Can you tell me why not?
Penguin: Well, there are just certain things that can’t be discussed if there is any hope of resolving a rather troublesome situation that has arisen.  We need to get things back to normal. 
Me: That doesn’t make any sense at all, but ok.  What do you mean by “troublesome situation” anyway?
Penguin: I cannot say
Me: Right, of course not.  How is it that penguins travel around? Everyone knows they can swim, but we are talking about vast distances for a small-ish bird.  And there isn’t always access to oceans where you go.  And everyone knows penguins don’t fly…
Penguin: We travel by giant squid underwater, and by helium balloon in the air.
Me: Interesting, and not what I expected.  Do you plan to return to the tropics any time soon?
Penguin: Unlikely.  It all depends on how some things unfold…  I suppose there is always a chance. 
Me: You are being vague.
Penguin: Intentionally.
Me: Isn’t there anything you can tell me that will shed some light on the penguin’s strange behaviour and relocation to Antarctica? 
Penguin: Unfortunately not.  I am afraid it would do more damage than you think.
Me: But then why are you here and not in Antarctica with the rest of the penguins?
Penguin: Again, I cannot tell you any specifics.  I am taking care of some important business that involves a lot of traveling.  Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to hit the waves for a while before the sun goes down.
Me: Ok, well thanks for the talk.  I’m sure I’ll see you around.  But one last thing… can you tell me anything about this, even if it is vague, maybe just a small detail about what this whole situation involves?  How it started?  Anything?  Even just one word? 
Penguin: You don’t give up, do you, human? <sigh> Timetravel. And ducks.  That’s all i will say, and i’m afraid I’ve said too much.  Enjoy the rest of your afternoon.
And that was it – with a quick nod, he jumped into the waves and surfed for a while and then swam off somewhere underwater and I couldn’t follow him.  This of course was years ago and I have met with him many more times since then, but I’ve never been able to get any more information out of him than what I did during our first meeting.  Timetravel and ducks.  What does he mean by that?  What do ducks have to do with any of this?  Timetravel?  Seriously?  What is this, some sort of sci-fi movie?  Ridiculous.  I’m convinced he has lost his mind a little… the freezing cold, isolated antarctic lifestyle must have got to him or he ate a bad fish or something.  I don’t even know where to start.  He did send me this picture the other day though, and it’s a great first look at how penguins travel across the oceans. Oh, and he told me his name finally: it’s Martin.
Check back weekly for new posts!  And of course don’t forget to share this link with anyone who might enjoy it.  Nothing like a good penguin mystery series! (or a flamingo party and a rainbow cow and a gnome who steals honey bees, and whatever other nonsense I come up with next time).

Happy (late) World Penguin Day everyone.


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