In Praise of Narwhals

I’d like to talk to you today about narwhals. These animals are proof, if any were needed, that whatever consciousness is in charge of things, possesses a wicked sense of humour and a fondness for real ale. For narwhals are the sort of animal that would only make sense after a long session down the pub – “lishen, Gabriel, let’s take a whale…and…and…lishen…let’s STICK A GIANT CORKSCREW ON ITS HEAD!” [Sound of a deity falling off a barstool] Between the narwhal, the sawfish and the hammerhead shark, I suspect God spent lunchtime of the fifth day down Home Depot, and that somewhere in the depths of the Pacific Oceans lurks a fish inspired by a Black & Decker Workmate.

Not only did the narwhal start off in life with an evolutionary disadvantage – though I suppose any predator would likely be too busy sniggering to chase them – they also don’t get the kind of press other members of the whale family do. You don’t find members of Greenpeace defending them in inflatable boats, though this is because rubber dinghies and animals with sharp, pointy noses are probably a bad combination. Nor do they get movies made about them – imagine how much better Free Willy would have been with a narwhal instead of a killer whale. He could have skewered the irritating child actor during his leap to freedom, and swam off into the sunset with a kid shish-kebab.

Here at Trash City, Chris and I feel such a creature deserves recognition, and so we did what we usually do in such cases – typed ‘Narwhal’ into Ebay’s search engine to see what comes up. We were impressed with the Huge Rare Antique Ivory Narwhal Tusk Nice!!!, which went for a cool $4,250. We particularly liked the photo of it lounging on the seller’s couch. Now that’s what I call a conversation piece – albeit in the “Will you please move that thing off the couch so we can sit down?” kind of way. Note the use of the word “antique”, to prevent the seller from being firebombed by animal-rights activists, rather than “newly hacked off and still bleeding from the stump”. We also found the Whale Narwhal Toy Rubber Replica 11″ Rare Toy appealing – even tossed our hats in the ring on that one, but lost out to a bidder named whaleshome1. Clearly a cetacean fetishist, if ever we saw one.

So, for the moment, we remain in a state of rubber narwhallessness. It’s an intriguing idea though, and we wonder if somewhere in a back room at Sanrio lurks the discarded concept of Hello Narwhal, with huge eyes but no blowhole. We yearn for someone to set up an Adopt a Narwhal scheme, whereby you get quarterly letters from the aquatic mammal of your choice, detailing life north of the Arctic Circle. We enliven tedious moments by sticking a straw to our forehead and doing narwhal impressions. Next week, it’ll quite possibly be sea-otters, but just for the moment, we’re in a narwhal state of mind…