The Unicorn of the North

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Tim Braun
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not too much into watching the “Animals Kill Other Animals” or ‘Animals Love Other Animals” TV shows like a lot of people are. I prefer my dose of reality from more realistic and practical shows like Survivor and Hell’s Kitchen. THOSE are the shows that capture the true drama and nature of the human psyche and not the false bravado being forced upon us by Mother Nature.

Which is why I found it so odd the other day that I was glued to my television watching a documentary about narwhals. For those of you who are unaware of these odd creatures, here is a picture. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the “Unicorn of the North” (their words, not mine):


So you are not confused by the moniker, here is a picture of what I would like to from this point forward call “Narwhal of the South”:


ALERT:  I have just been notified by yes, a 9-year old girl, that the picture above in fact is NOT a unicorn at all.  It is an alicorn.  Because it has both wings AND a corn.  I’m not sure if I’m more embarassed that a 9-year old girl READS my blog, or that a 9-year old girl knows more about fictional animals than I.  Anyway – who the heck knew that there were varieties of rainbow-snorting critters????

Obviously, the northern variety is quite different in many ways. The top 5 differences between the two linked animals:

1)      One doesn’t have a vegetable in its name.

2)      One has rainbows coming out of every fictional orifice.

3)      Scientists thought both were fictional – one has now been discovered and it won’t be long before the other one is.

4)      One of them has two teeth – the other has none, because it’s, well, NOT REAL.

5)      One of them can produce squeals internally that can produce deafness in humans. The other can produce squeals among girls 5-9 years of age that can also produce deafness in humans.

I think if I were to be born a narwhal I would be quite annoyed that my nickname was based on a fictional creature. So basically people and SCIENTISTS are putting more stock in a critter that never existed and basing MY existence solely on the fact that I live somewhere North of a fictional place where the fictional animal fictionally lived and fictionally craps rainbows. That’s some vote of confidence in me, eh? That’s why I don’t want to be a narwhal. In fact, from the National Geographic website:

                                 “The narwhal is the unicorn of the sea, a pale-colored porpoise found in Arctic coastal waters and rivers.”

Another interesting tidbit is that only the male narwhal has this incredible protrusion from their nose. Even more interesting is that no one knows what it’s for, what it’s done, what it’s SUPPOSED to do, or what it CAN do. I can give you some ideas that involve obnoxious people bumping you from behind while you’re waiting at a cash register, but that’s for another day.

The most gripping part of this documentary however was the travels of the narwhal. They travel in pods (like whales) and go down little highways in the Arctic waters through the ice flows of Greenland, Canada and Russia. Sometimes these highways close down into a point of nothingness and our intrepid pod of narwhals reaches a wall of impenetrable ice from whence they must find a way to turn around and go back down the highway. Not for any reason. They’re not trying to GET anywhere – that’s just what they do.

Even more amazing is that when one of these pods are swimming down the ice highway minding their own business, they MAY meet another pod narwhal-offgoing the opposite direction. It’s a narwhal-off. Both pods just sit there for a while….clattering about and making odd narwhal noises until one of them (with no rhyme or reason as to which) turns around and just swims off with the other pod and cruise back down the way they came! How odd is that? Both of the pods probably could care less which way they go but since they really aren’t doing anything else, one pod just ‘out-bores’ the other and keeps on going straight now with a bunch of new friends. The ultimate ‘I don’t care’ fish. Or mammal. Or Northern Unicorn.

Isn’t that the ultimate human condition? The thought of finally just giving in and swimming the way that everyone else does? Maybe we CAN learn from these kind of documentaries. I can tell you that I’m 100% sure that I’ll hit at least 4 ice walls on my ice highway journeys this week.

I just hope that when I hit these walls, I don’t bend my horn.


  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    I always wondered who watched animal documentaries. Now I know.

    As for that long nasal protrusion? Maybe he’s just a big ole’ liar…


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