I was working with a really fun copywriter when the call from Chicago came. He landed a great gig on the Chester-the-Cheetos, McDonald's, Bud Light and SeaWorld accounts. I was sad to lose him but happy for him as it was his dream to work in Chicago. To celebrate his dream coming true, Mr. P and I threw a goodbye party for him where all we served were his new accounts. That meant Mr. P had to go to our local McDonald's and place an order for 50 hamburgers, 50 cheeseburgers & 100 small fries. As Mr. P did this, I placed around our apartment great bowls of Cheetos and filled the bathtub of our guest bathroom - which Mr. P had already filled with ice before he departed for McDonald's with a couple of cases of cold cans of Bud Light. Then I went into the kitchen and followed the detailed instructions Mr. P had left and mixed up several pitcher's worth of Blue Margaritas and placed them on the bar along with an ice bucket, glasses and a sign that read, "Shamu Water" Mr. P returned from McDonald's with great sacks of food. After pouring us 2 Shamu Waters, we put all the cheeseburgers, hamburgers and fries out on platters. Then our guests began arriving.
The Shamu Water turned out to be an excellent storytelling stimulant. It eventually, even, uncorked the guy we threw the party for. He told us of his wife's most embarrassing moment in life. That moment involved none other than Shamu. His in-laws decided, to further their two young girls education by doing The Grand Tour of Florida one winter break. They did everything all other Grand Touring of Florida families did back then; DisneyWorld, riding in glass bottomed boats, hunting for stray coconuts at the beach, and visiting Shamu at SeaWorld. His father-in-law scored front row seats for the Shamu show. Because they were in the front row, his two girls were selected by Shamu's* trainers, out of all the children in the audience to come poolside with them and meet Shamu. They petted Shamu. Everyone was delighted. The trainers gave Shamu a big pat on the head and several whole fish treats for being such a good whale. Then the girls were told by the trainers to wave goodbye to Shamu as he had been trained to wave goodbye to them at this point in the show. Shamu, was at the edge of the pool, upright with his head bobbing in the water displaying all his teeth in a charming big grin awaiting his cue. With his father-in-law rolling film he watched through the lens as his two smiling girls said a loud "Bye Shamu" and wave exaggerated waves along with the trainers to Shamu. All of them excited, awaiting Shamu to perform his next trick. Shamu was supposed to roll on his side and wave one of his fins at them. Instead Shamu reached his chin down into the water, took a quick drink of pool water, rose up higher out of the water and spit it at full Killer Whale force into his two little daughters' happy, smiling faces.
His daughters were returned to him, accompanied by one of the lesser trainers, soaking wet, crying uncontrollably and with great chunks of partially chewed fish in their hair. They had to leave the park right then to go take showers at the hotel as they reeked of tuna breath. The tuna breath was so strong both girls tossed their cookies in the rental car on the way back to the hotel. Which then caused his mother-in-law to lose hers.They had to put all the windows down in the car. When they pulled up to the hotel, the Dad had to give the carhop an extra 20 just to convince him it would be safe for him to park it. The Concierge gave them their own elevator to ride up to their rooms. Our friend ended his story with, "Don't ever let anyone tell you Shamu is a nice whale. That fish knew exactly what he was doing." We all collapsed laughing. It turned out to be one of our best parties, ever.
The other day Shamu*, that no-so-nice fish at SeaWorld, killed his trainer in front of an audience. So besides the Obama-knows-exactly-what-he's-doing wheeze the media is still working, though Obama is at 22% in polls, we are now being treated to the Shamu- had-no-clue-what-he-was-doing wheeze. Even though everyone saw Shamu* grab the trainer by her ponytail, drag her into the pool with him and toss her about like a rag doll until death interrupted Shamu's* unscheduled playdate. According to a sheriff's statement, "rescuers were not able to immediately jump in and render assistance to Brancheau [the trainer] due to the whale's aggressive nature." They waited, with an audience watching, until she was dead. Then they "coaxed" him into a smaller pool so her body could be retrieved. That smaller pool, interestingly we've learned, is the very same small pool where one morning a body of a male visitor was found draped over the very same Shamu*. The trainers believed the man tried swimming with Shamu* after hours and had drowned. Unfortunately for them the alibi fell apart when the coroner discovered bite marks on the man's torso. Which were not at all unlike the same bite marks Shamu* had left on his previous victim, a trainer at a seapark in British Columbia. In that murder, Shamu* had two female accomplices. All three got off and were sent to other water parks.
It's a very good thing for Shamu*that he's not a Catholic priest. Because if he were the media would be screaming for an investigation into the scandal surrounding SeaWorld believing their performing whales are above the law. Instead of handing their bad actors over to the local authorities, SeaWorld works in collusion with other seaparks. They send them to other seaparks leaving them to maim and kill again. But Shamu is not a Catholic priest. He's a whale. A serial Killer Whale in fact. But to the folks at Seaworld, he seems to be a person. A person with Miranda rights and the presumption of innocence. Chuck Tompkins, who is also curator of zoological operations at SeaWorld Orlando on what happened,
"What we have found out is that Dawn [the trainer] had just finished up a very good session with this animal ... She was interacting with him, petting him on the nose,"
"Dawn had very long hair in a ponytail. That ponytail had swung in front of him. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her underwater and held her underwater," Mr Tompkins said."
"Tilikum [Shamu] was not depressed, he said, calling the killer whale “a good animal.”
Mr Tompkins said the animal would not be put down, the Times of London reported.
SeaWorld said on its blog that it has “every intention of continuing to interact” with Tilikum, but that “the procedures for working with him will change.”
*Shamu is the generic name for all Killer Whales at SeaWorld.