And I’ve never removed a golfball from a whale orifice, either.

Every marine biologist, whether ecologist, geneticist, fisheries specialist, etc., has experienced the dread cocktail party question. We can see it coming, like a giant flaming speeding train OF DOOM. There is no ducking. There is no escape. Some well-meaning yet conversationally challenged person is going to get you in a corner and ask, “So, do you like, get to talk to dolphins?”

Fortunately, the marine biologists of the world have a bold defender, Milton Love. A fish expert and wearer of fine rockfish tattoos, he has written “So, You Want to be a Marine Biologist?”

I think it should be required reading, not just for starry-eyed 11 year olds drawing dolphins on their notebooks (some of them grow up just fine, thank you very much), but for anyone who might possibly attend a cocktail party any time in their lives. So, for everyone.

Because if I hear that question one more time, I’m going to say, “No, I have never talked to dolphins, since it would be much like talking to a drunken frat boy with a prehensile penis. I’d rather arm-wrestle a Giant Pacific Octopus than come within a mile of a bottlenose on the prowl.”

Eric adds: Milton Love says Marine Biologists never date. Something about the odor. I must beg to differ. Marine biologists are eminently datable. No comment about the odor.


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