“Warty Sea Cucumber” by richard ling

A sea cucumber, which despite its name is a kind of worm-like critter that crawls around the bottom of the sea, set some type of record when it sat in the same spot without moving for two years. What makes this feat all the more remarkable is it did so without a recliner. Word has it a remote and television was not involved either.

Scientists are understandably baffled.

What baffles me is the fact someone, let’s call him Roger, was willing to watch a sea cucumber just sit there doing nothing for two years. Roger must have less of a life than the sea cucumber.

To me, a layman, this is yet another “What’s the point?” type research project. I can’t begin to fathom (rim shot) why on earth recording how long something that looks like a cross between a hot dog bun and the Elephant Man is willing to sit around and do nothing is not a benefit to science. Of course, crazier things have happened. Who knows? Maybe, one day I’ll see a headline in the news like: Cure for Bursitis found in Sea Cucumber Immobility.

I doubt it, though. I really doubt it.

I bet Roger resents getting stuck with Sea Cucumber duty, while his fellow research assistants at the Institute of Useless Oceanographic Information (IUOI) get to sail off to exotic places like South Africa and do cool things like tow a fake seal behind the boat to see how many Great Whites jump out of the water to attack it.

If the number of documentaries on the subject are any indication, dragging fake seals behind boats in South Africa is the main focus of every oceanographic research institution on the planet. The leaders of the expeditions justify the time and expense of the studies by suggesting their research keeps people safe from shark attacks. The statistics bear them out. Since the research began, there has been no instance of a great white attack on anyone being towed behind a boat in South Africa while dressed in a seal costume. The researchers next stop is the Bahamas where they plan to prove smearing your body with tuna chunks and jumping into a shoal polluted with bull sharks is a bad idea too.

But I digress.

I can only imagine Roger’s eruption of joy the moment the sea cucumber finally moved. “Free at last!” he screams, his voice echoing throughout the halls of the aquarium’s research center. He startles the guy behind him who was engrossed in monitoring the hermit crab in Tank B to determine if it fed itself more frequently with its right claw or left.

“It moved!” Roger cries, shaking hermit crab guy violently by the shoulders. “It moved an entire quarter inch to the right! I can go home now!”

I am happy for Roger, but, frankly, I am not that impressed with the sea cucumber. Besides, no one likes a showoff.

I am known as a pretty fair hand at laying around in the same spot for long periods of times doing nothing, myself. I spent nearly twelve-hundred bucks on a recliner a few years back and I’ve made it a mission in life to get as much out of it as I can. That takes a lot of doing nothing in a prone state.

I’ve been known to remain sedentary in front of the television for such long periods of time that my wife, Marianne, will send an envoy in the form of one of our children to take my pulse to inquire whether or not I am still in the world of the living.

“What’s the verdict?” Marianne casually trills from the kitchen. “Do I need to submit the life insurance claim?”

“No. He’s watching that Hank Parker fishing show again,” our offspring answers.

“He’s been at it all day now. How many episodes does Hank Parker’s Outdoors have?” Marianne asks.

I would answer her, but Hank is about to reel in the gigantic bass he has been fighting for several minutes now and it takes my total concentration to monitor the operation.

The answer is 30 years, by the way. Hank Parker has been on for 30 years. I plan to binge watch every episode in one sitting. It could take me as long as two years.

Take that, sea cucumber.