I love going to the zoo. I love feeding sugar water to the pretty birdies, I love admiring the clumsy turtles, I wish I could pet the cute monkeys. But when it comes to the aquarium section, I really have to suppress a shudder. At the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Wa., the aquarium is set up so that when you are walking on the upper level, you can look down into an “ocean setting” which includes a big huge fish and maybe an octopus or squid. I skirt a wide path around that area because I’m always worried that I’ll trip, fall in, and get eaten. Ridiculous, I know. But we can blame it all on The Bad Babysitter…
My three sisters and I had several babysitters growing up. Most of the time, I enjoyed having a babysitter. It meant we could have a casual dinner, play all night, and maybe even watch a movie. I’m not really sure what inspired our babysitter this evening to tell this particular tale. Maybe she was trying to be the Cool Babysitter Who Tells Scary Stories. As many of you are probably aware, there are octopi living underneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (also in Tacoma, Wa.).
Fact: some of the world’s largest octopi do live underneath the bridge
Myth: they are as big as a house
But I didn’t know that at the time. So The Bad Babysitter who was trying to be the Cool Babysitter Who Tells Scary Stories told us that huge, ravenous, predatory octopi lived underneath the bridge. Some of them were as big as our house. Note: I grew up in a very large, three story house. Her story was kind of like a big fish story, the tale gets bigger as you go along. By the time she finished describing the long tentacles with the hundreds of little suction cups, the image was cemented in my head. It probably didn’t help that around this time, I saw an Armageddon type undersea movie that involved a dangerous octopus.
I think this is why I’ve never had any desire to go scuba diving in the ocean (maybe someday in shallow waters where starfish are the most dangerous thing out there).