My penguin plan

It would be fine to be a penguin farmer.

It would be a grand life! Let me tell you.

First, it would need to be done in Finland, where I am. The Antarctica has the right concentration of people for my tastes, but there aren’t enough libraries and I fear even the Book Depository might not be able to arrange free and speedy deliveries. (“And finally, these fifty separate packages from over the past five months, all books, for ya, ya big lunk hunkering over that candy wrapper.”)

But penguins. First, they are aesthetically and practically pleasing animals. Unlike most other birds, they will not fly away; all you need is a fence and an absence of lakefront. They have an elegant, dignified two-tone coloring scheme, and they do projectile shitting. (I am not sure if this is an aesthetic or a practical benefit; it may be both, given my aesthetics.)

But, you ask, you horrid man (me, not you), what do you mean by penguin farming? Surely not meat — so do you mean you’d raise penguins to milk them?

Well, no, that would be almost as silly as farming penguins in Finland.

No, I would be in it for the entertainment; and I do not mean a petting zoo, or adult entertainment. (Well, that’s the fallback position, though. “Butler Birds In The Heat”; a very niche category.)

I would operate a penguin restaurant.

Wait, you cry again; you said this would not be for the meat. But I meant it, the first time I said it; the penguins would not be the meals, but the butlers. Imagine it! What child could allow its parents go past a place where penguins serve you food!

Largely food that is not fish; otherwise the meals might arrive in bit too vegetarian a state to the tables.

But otherwise — this beady-eyed small guy, bearing a platter with pate de foie gras or a Big Mac on it — what, you want penguin waitresses and good food? — waddling from the kitchen, reaching a bit to place the food up on your table, bowing a bit, emitting a raucous squawk of “Bon appetit!”, and leaving. Why, people would eat gravel if they could be served like that! I know I would; but then again, I am a victim of years of self-inflicted student cooking.

Cooking. Wait, could you teach penguins to cook? I foresee several problems.

One, the heat. Not the sexual frenzy, but the hot temperature; penguins might not like that. Even if they did, penguins are adapted to colder climes, which I think means a thick coat. Not the sort with buttons, but the hair fur thing. Which would be too hot for the kitchen, and being cooks the penguins could not get out if the getting got too hot for them. This might be solved with shaving, or plucking; whatever the penguin surface texture actually is. (I like penguins, but I’m a bit vague on some of the details. Do they squawk? Is there an English verb specific for the sounds penguins make, or an onomatopoetic transliteration for their cry? Please, let it not be “hacking” and “fhleegm!”)

The second problem of penguins as cooks. The wings; or flippers; or whatever those adorable thingies are. Are they any good with a cleaver? Or a roller, or a frying pan? I have no idea if penguin cooking prosthetics are easy to find; maybe not. Maybe I should find remote-controllable cooking robots, and teach penguins to remote control them? But do I want to face cybernetic penguins, asking if they can get a wage too? (That does not seem a situation where “no” is an acceptable answer. Plus do you think the courts would side with a me, or with cute and deadly cyborg penguins?)

The third problem of penguin cooking. “You made it too fishy again! It’s not good this fishy! Stupid fish-obsessed bird cook!”

Maybe I could train a penguin, splendid in its black-and-white naturals (no cleaner’s fees!), to operate as the cashier instead. Squawk, credit card into this hole, squawk, PIN code, squawk, thank you very much, and a peck for the child; thank you for visiting!

Greeters, place showers, maybe even stage entertainers — dancing girls (though who but a biologist could tell? And they, being nasty Darwinists, would find same-sex bird ogling just delish! To say nothing of what the woman Darwinists would!) but no stand-up comedians, I’m afraid. First problem: penguins don’t speak. Even if I could find an electric penguin-to-English translator, the material would be all like, “So some fish swim vertically, like this, and some horizontally, like this. What’s up with that? I mean, I just caught a boat, all the way from the Antarctic… no idea how it had strayed this far but boy was it a tired, easy catch! Easy catch!”

The penguins might not be the best bet for security. It would be dreadful, a pack of them against some unruly ruffians, come not to eat but to beat up a few foreign monochrome birdies. (“‘ey boid, we don’t want youse kinds roun’ heah, ya fancy dressin’ women-charmin’ avian!”) I’d have no other way out that ugly situation but to spray the ruffians with fish extract (it comes in bottles just like Mace) — after which the feeding frenzy would begin, and I’d have to bury the ruffian remainders behind the coldhouse.

As you can see, I have everything well thought out; I just need a venture capitalist (or a communist; I don’t discriminate) to give me a few wheelbarrows of cash.

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