Friday, July 6, 2012

Octopus vs. Chicken: Which is More Catholic?

Much to my wife's dismay, I have always wanted a pet octopus.  In her eyes, the octopus is slimy, alien and generally creepy. To me, they are fascinating animals with unusual intelligence and distinct playfulness.  One of my favorite octopus qualities is their ferocity.  They have, for instance, been filmed taking out sharks (see clip below).  Simultaneously they have a distinct sense of humor.  Sometimes, because baby octopuses are so difficult to identify, you are "unlucky" enough to get a blue ring octopus, which has one of the most lethal venoms in the world.  Fantastic!  So for years I have been daydreaming about having an octopus.  Should I name him Houdini (they are infamous escape artists - one reportedly made it all the way down the driveway to the mailbox before expiring) or Odysseus (the octopus was the tricky hero's totem)?

The simple truth, though, is that as the King Papa (the official title bestowed upon me by my three year old) I have to make careful decisions.  All projects of the kingdom are limited by at least two precious resources: time and money.  Given these unfortunate limitations, I have no doubt that it is my distinct responsibility to pursue those projects that most distinctly contribute to the Catholic kingdom and domestic church we are building.

No problem.  Based off of what I have discussed above, is not the octopus a most Catholic beast?  Besides the fact that all animals are Catholic, the octopus possesses come of the most important Catholic characteristics.

Still, I have to admit, perhaps my wife is right. I cannot help, even in the throes of my octopus research, to think that the chicken is an even more Catholic beast.  Firstly, the chicken is also fierce.  That seems like a fundamental contradiction but it is true. You know it if you've ever had one.

The Venomous Blue Ringed Octopus

More importantly however, having chickens and investing your time and money in this direction establishes a gift-structure within the familial domain.  As the family gives the chickens food, shelter and loving care, the chicken offers eggs, meat and the experience of this mutual generosity.  It is important, I think, to focus our energy, time and resources towards projects of parallel domestic wealth.  It isn't the case that you won't learn anything from the octopus.  I grew up in a home with salt water tanks, snakes, turtles, hedgehogs, parrots, etc.  You will learn something.  But frequently, these more exotic interests (all of which are also time-consuming and frequently expensive) simply do not offer the singular sort of benefit suggested above.  These sorts of pets end up being individualistically oriented and a bit more like science projects than enriching relations.

I tend to jump near obsessively into projects, but time has to be spent carefully in the Domestic Kingdom.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    my name is Mikaela and I am doing a documentary (school project), and I was wondering if I can have your permission to use your photo of a octopus in the film.

    Of course you will get credits for it.

    contact me on:

    Mikaela Ylönen