Thursday, March 23, 2006

Disgruntled chelonians

Ndugu Montoya, our resident Disgruntled Chelonian, regrets to inform you that the world's oldest foul-tempered tortoise passed away today. Addwaitya, an aldabra giant tortoise weighing in around 150 kilograms, he was kidnapped from his birthplace in the Seychelles and forced to endure life under one of those tea-drinking, "jolly good" exclaiming British colonialists in India. 130 years ago, he thought he was going to make his big escape, but unfortunately he was relocated to a holding pen in the zoo, where he finally died of rage in 2006. Here he is, looking suitably disgruntled for an old soul who's had to witness 250 years of human stupidity:

Ndugu volunteers to translate the caption for this photo:

"Oh no, not another peon coming to admire me. Look, I already informed my tenders that no one is permitted to lay eyes on my greatness unless they come bearing live, suitably stunned sacrificial offerings. Please go away before I am forced to smite you with my malevolent glare, which I have perfected over the course of two centuries."

You non-tortoise people out there may not be aware that tortoises are capable of depicting a range of emotions. Their primary moods are: disgruntled, disdainful, disinterested, dyspeptic and irate. Occasionally, flashes of disdainful curiosity occur ("What is this meager offering you've placed before me? Is it some form of paltry vegetable matter? I scoff at its presence and now proceed to tread on it in your sight.") Tortoises are particularly disdainful of furry, stupid-looking excuses for animal life forms, like these coyote bonbons trying to pass for rabbits.

Ndugu just piped in to inform me that they generally prefer to be irate, unless they are sleeping, in which case they're just annoyed.


Tucker said...

Hi Meg,

I actually just spoke to Ndugu this morning and he mentioned he wasn't irate at all. In fact he was in a very good mood. Maybe Ndugu is the exception because of all the love and care he receives.

Talking to Ndugu this morning he mentioned that he really likes the fact that he gets to see all sorts of interesting people and that he never has to search for his food; it just magically appears in the same spot over and over again. There are some yucky greens in there, but he can easily pick that stuff out to get to the good stuff. He also mentioned that he likes his living environment because where else can a tortoise be the king of his own jungle and make trees bow before his might. The only thing that upsets him is that the edge of his kingdom is so high and the fact that he is occassionally forced to travel to the land of Bathing. So as you can see he has no reason to be irate, he is living the good life.

I hope things are going well at school. Take it easy.

Anonymous said...

Dear 'tucker',

I would like to inform you that I am in fact quite irate. I'm ragin' pissed. How dare you try to take credit for my magical food-conjuring abilities! Or my natural, inborn jungle supremacy. Typical mistake for a human, I guess.

Let it be known that my maltreatment at the hands of my human captors will not go unpunished. Some day you'll be just a little careless with your finger, and then WHAM!!!

Disgruntledly yours,

Ndugu Montoya, Demigod Extraordinaire

PS--Tell my former captors that the same goes for them. They're in big, big trouble if I ever get my claws on them...

Tucker said...

Well Ndugu, I have talked over the maltreatment issue with your current prison guard and after some discussion it was decided that it is wrong of us to imprision such a magnificient tortoise as yourself. As a result of these discussions we came to the conclusion that the only way to rectify our mistakes was to release you from your imprisionment back into the wild. There you would no longer suffer at the hands of those hideous humans and could use godly powers to claim what was rightfully yours before the imprisionment. As I think you will agree this is the only way to reconcile the problems that exist between us. As an added bonus the current prision guard will get her dining room table back. She expressed much elation about this idea.