"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams had a cameo on "Sesame Street" today, introducing the word of the day, which was "squid." Just in case there was any confusion, he said the word "squid" 19 times. Squid squid squid squid squid!Thanks to Brian Williams, we now know that squids live under water and have two long tentacles and eight shorter arms. Which is why the giant versions are pretty freaking scary. What Williams didn't share with his fans:
Yaaaaay, kiddies! Squids are fun! They don't eat peanut butter sandwiches! And also:
A Humboldt squid can grow to the size and weight of a hockey player. So, imagine Todd Bertuzzi* with bulging eyes, eight arms, two tentacles, three hearts, a beak for a mouth, a brain wrapped around his esophagus and gullet with a willingness — nay, eagerness — to dine on his own kind every other meal, and you get a sense of how the squid has earned such a fearsome reputation.
Thousands of ring teeth cut into the flesh of their prey so deeply, you can hear it. When they drag their victim away with pulses from their massive jet funnel, the sounds of their hapless victim being ripped apart fills the water. It sounds a bit like heavy duty Velcro being pulled apart underwater. Then the beak can be heard, that huge knife-edged beak. The gouging of bone and tissue sound like the shredding of cabbage combined with that of hacking apart coconuts with a machete.
What's that under your bed, little girl — is it a SCARY SQUID? IT'S COMING TO GET YOU!!! As squid expert Clive Thompson says, "Bow before your cephalopodic overlords, cringing humans. I give civilization maybe 15 years before the squid take over. We have no chance." Or, put differently, good day and good squid.
Also: Squid? Squids? Who knows? (Merriam-Webster, it turns out - it's both.) Whatever, we're sticking with 'cephalopods,' that's easier to spel.
*Todd Bertuzzi is Canadian, as is above-mentioned squid expert Clive Thompson.