A few weeks ago, Ethan was in a Spanish class, and made a comment about “el ornitorrinco” while brainstorming for topics to write about. His professor looked at him like he was crazy. “That’s not a word in Spanish,” she said (in Spanish).
“It’s an animal!” said Ethan. “It’s… like… it’s like a duck… and a beaver… but…” he realized how crazy he sounded, and turned to the class for support. “It’s called a platypus in English.” The class then jumped to his rescue, affirming the existence of such a creature – but the professor had apparently never heard of a platypus before (in either language). They then faced the challenge of describing a furry, oil-covered mammal that lays eggs, swims with its eyes shut, has a bill like a duck that contains sensors like a shark’s nose, webbed feet, fat deposits that look like a beaver’s tail, and poisonous ankle spurs for fighting off male competition. And sometimes fights the forces of evil, wearing a fedora. She stared at them like they had lobsters coming out of their ears.
Which leads us to wonder, what exactly did God have in mind when he made the platypus? The lion makes sense: land predator. The shark makes sense: water predator. The duck makes sense; aquatic bird. The platypus? It’s like God made the earth in 6 days, then looked around at the leftover scraps and said, “Well, I’ve got a duck bill… and some poison… ” I don’t know. All’s I know is, I’m glad such a ridiculous animal exists. ♦