Friday, May 28, 2010

Queen of Sea World

Almost ten years ago, I took a break from defending the drunks and petty criminals of Alaska’s Yukon Kuskokwim Peninsula. I visited my friends in Vista, California. One of the high points of that trip was visiting Sea World California, where my friend’s daughters, Erin and Shauna, are regular visitors. It’s an amazing place because there is so much to see and learn. I was impressed with Sea World’s facilities, but I was pretty much awestruck by Erin and Shauna’s knowledge of the place.

I was delighted by a show the staff put on with sea lions, walruses and otters. At one point, I listened, slack-jawed, as they named every one of the thirty-some dolphins they saw by name. They spent most every weekend feeding the dolphins, and each of them seemed to recognized the girls by sight. If you go to someone’s house each week and feed someone’s dog, that dog will be excited to see his buddy. The same principle applies to dolphins, who are very intelligent animals.

I regret that I was not present when Erin, the eldest daughter, got her nickname. One weekend, she was feeding and petting an appreciative pod of dolphins when a female tourist standing behind her groused, “Aren’t you going to give someone else a chance?” Erin replied, truthfully, “I’m the reason the dolphins are here.” At this point, that tourist snapped, “Yeah, right.” Erin politely said, “If I leave, the dolphins will leave, too.” I guess that particular lady might have been having a bad day because she snapped, “Who are you? Ariel, queen of the sea?”

Erin considered saying something back to that woman, but thought better of it. (At this point, I’d like to compliment Erin’s parents on raising three of the best-behaved children EVER.) Instead, she just shrugged her shoulders and walked to the other side of the dolphin tank. I really wish I had a video camera to record the look on that woman’s face when the entire pod of dolphins went swimming to the other side of the pool.

This is how Erin acquired her nickname: Erin, Queen of Sea World.

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