After the apocalypse, there will still be colossal squid. I’m not sure what they will feed on – radioactive herring grown to ten times its normal size, perhaps? I have little faith in fairness and justice, but I do have faith in the colossal squid.
In the post-apocalyptic tale, The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s protagonist wondered, looking out into the dead, lead-like waves of the sea, if there is life in there, and when he did so, he thought of squid.
When he was in the military, my father once had the (dis)pleasure to go on a training exercise in the Black Sea, in the middle of the night. He was on assignment with a partner, with diving lights, and a full moon. They never finished the exercise, because they saw something that night.
It was something enormous and, in the words of my dad, “worm-like.” My dad later theorized that decades-long pollution of the Black Sea could have resulted in seriously messed-up sea critters.
After the encounter, my dad became obsessed with sea creatures, and eventually settled on the squid as one of his favourite marine monsters. I followed suit.
Why do we love the colossal squid? Because we can marvel at it from the safety of land. The cold, slimy squid makes our beds feel warmer and our pillows, and carpets, and kittehs feel softer. And yet, there is also its sheer awesomeness, especially when you contemplate the amazing contrast between tame fried calamari on your plate with marinara sauce on the side, and the gargantuan beastie shooting through the inky waters of the deep.
The very existence of the colossal squid is a comfort to those of us who worry that our planet has become dreadfully bland as of late. Even when she is defrosted and examined on live webcam, the squid remains mysterious, unholy, and magnificent. She’s like a ghost, only tactile, a physical presence unlike any other.
I’d place the colossal squid squarely in the uncanny category – it’s the primordial slime of life, and yet intelligent and powerful and not at all the sort of creature you’d like to meet on its own turf. The colossal squid, it is said, lives at depths of 100 meters below, a place that might as well be a dark, starless void somewhere in outer space as far as human beings are concerned.
Assuming one could somehow survive the pressure, one still could not see the squid if it attacked. Only feel it.
Dum dum dum!
I think human beings are especially fascinated with deadly creatures. Mortality is like a bruise we keep fingering, and few things in life represent mortality as well as a colossal squid.
Aside from all that, it is just a perfect blend of fearsome beauty and utter grossness. It’s like the Dali of the natural world. It’s like a fairy tale come to life.
I love it, and so should you.