Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Mighty Octopus Strikes Again

So, one of our participants e-mailed me to tell me she hadn't been able to write for the last few days due to... get this... an octopus bite. What is it with this blog and octopuses?

I have been teaching for 18 years and this has really got to be the most original excuse ever:

On Sunday, R. and I were picking up marine debris from the bottom of the ocean and inadvertantly grabbed a small hitchhiker... The tiny night octopus was possibly 2 inches around at most and was dismayed to find himself above water. I had already taken off my gloves when R. handed him to me and I meant to put him right in the water...but he was so cute.... I let him slide around on my hand for a while. Then, he decided that the space between two of my fingers made a nice crevasse in which to hide. At that ponit I squeezed my fingers slightly to keep him from disappearing through them.

The bite felt like a small pinch on my middle finger until the poison started making its way down my finger and across the back of my hand. Then it burned like hell. I immediately flung the little demon into the water... after 30 minutes of burning, stabbing pain, my hand swelled up to the size of a mitten and for the last three days I've gone around with no knuckles - just a huge, throbbing, bulbous paw where I should have a hand.

Today I woke up and my hand looks like a hand again. Sure, it is bigger than the right hand and the skin is streched and shiny -- plus it still hurts like hell. But I won't have to worry about drawing sickened glances today when people notice it and I can actually type a bit. So I guess my excuse for not writing is almost over. :)

Let this be a lesson to you all... do not pick up strange octopi.

The funny thing about this (other than the fact that J. has a great sense of story) is that I needed a witchy potions master character. A creepy animal who could supply a potent poison. I decided to make it a giant octopus named Madame M. (which stands for Megalocyathus - the scientific name for the giant octopus that lurks off the coast of Chile).

And BTW - a giant octopus can have arms (not tentacles) up to 12 or 13 feet in length. Not something you'd put in the palm of your hand.

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