When the Internet Lies

Last August, Scottish Twitter-user Shauni Humphries tweeted: “Boy in the pub was telling me his job is a penguin erector so every time a plane flys over Edinburgh zoo the penguins can’t take their eyes off it and end up falling over n he just goes round picking them back up, 38 penguins 2000 flights a day.”

Now, of course, after seeing this, my first thought was: I’ve found my dream job. I’m about to live happily ever after in Scotland. So I went on good 'ol Google to find an application for the job, to see what the next steps would be for me to embark on my lifelong journey, and never have I ever felt more lied to than at that moment. Because get this: there is no such thing as a penguin erector.

The story goes that Humphries, the misinformed Tweeter, was in a pub, and an acquaintance of hers decided to mess with her and lie about his occupation, you know, as one does. But she was not aware of this tomfoolery until after she tweeted out that little tweet that broke my heart and shattered my dreams. 

And I know that I shouldn’t always trust the Internet. My parents and that State Farm commercial warned me not to, but in the few minutes between seeing this tweet and finding out the lies behind it, I had grown accustomed to the thought that I could spend the rest of my life helping penguins. I had found my purpose in life – the tweet was surely a sign from God. I wanted it to be real; I needed it to be real. But if being a penguin erector is no more of a real option than being a unicorn hair-stylist, how could I find my happily ever after?

I was desperate to find something, anything, to fill in the gaping hole that was my purpose in life, but then I saw a little article about the oldest man in Australia. Alfie Date, who passed away at age 110 in 2016, dedicated his last years to helping little penguins on Victoria’s Phillip Island by knitting jumpers for them. (They are literally called little penguins --I’m not trying to be cute.) 

At first glance, you may think that penguins don’t need sweaters; after all, they were built for the cold. But there was an oil spill in the early 2000s around Phillip Island, and it’s still affecting the penguin population. The oil remaining in the water makes penguins’ feathers stick together, and that’s no good because then water can get into their inner layers and make them too cold to hunt. And some penguins try to clean this oil off, but in doing so, they ingest the toxic oil, which is obviously not good at all. 

The sweaters are life-savers since they keep the little penguins warm and stop them from licking off any oil, much like a cone for a dog; except, these jumpers are no cone of shame. They are quite the fashion statement, for Alfie Date took pride in his work and refused to make his sweaters anything less than perfect. “I like to make it without mistakes and I don't excuse myself for doing it. (But) I think there is an excuse for a person who's gone beyond the normal span of life,” he said to National Geographic

Unfortunately, I do not know how to knit, but fortunately, I can learn, so nothing’s really standing in my way from helping the penguins, just like Alfie Date. And nothing’s stopping you either, so if you can knit, check out this link for more info. Or if you’d like to ~adopt~ a penguin, check this out right here – apparently, if you adopt, you get free entry to the Penguin Parade, where you can see penguins return ashore after being in the water all day! Granted, it’s in Australia, but I’d say, why the heck wouldn’t you want to go? 

Image 1: HuffPost, Image 2: The Telegraph, Image 3: Inspire.com