Columnists warns not to touch Big Snotty

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Billy the Bard’s Hamlet, aka the Moping Prince of Denmark, was noted for sighting questionable things. For instance, he occasionally had chit-chats with his father’s ghost.

Harold N. Walters

One time, he and Polonius — both grown men at the time, I might add — were playing at identifying critter shapes in clouds.

“Look,” said Hamlet. “That one is shaped like a whale.”

“So ‘tis,” said Polonius, “very like a whale.”

When not seeing things, Hamlet tended to whip out a scattered pithy sayings. Dandy lines such as: “Horatio b’y, there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Apparitions stranger than a father’s ghost.

Illusions stranger than whale-shaped clouds.

Entities as strange as the Snotty Jellyfish.

“Harry,” says Dearest Duck, the warmth in my winter. “Don’t be disgusting.”

“Truly, my Duck, such a creature exists.”

“And I suppose you’ve seen one?”

“Not I,” my Duck, “but back in January, no less an authority than CNN reported its presence on the planet. CNN, mind you!”

One day while 12 year old Xavier Lim and her father were dodging along a beach in Tasmania looking for sea shells they spied Big Snotty.

“Look at that,” I imagine Xavier said, pointing to the five-foot diameter slime coating the sand.

“What the Devil…?” said Xavier’s father, eying the jellied mess. “That looks like a humongous sno….” Well, you get the idea.

Picture it. A gelatinous splatter the size of an open cast-net clinging to the rocks like snorted nasal mucous.

A viscous muck five feet across! Sure that’s bigger than a squid-squall, eh b’ys?

“Don’t touch it for fear of becoming a seedy wart,” said Xavier’s father.

No, that’s a lie.

Actually, the Lins — I’m guessing — clicked some iPhone snaps of Big Jelly and emailed them to … oh, scientists, p’raps, who quickly arrived at the beach to poke the king-size organism with sticks.

One Australian scientist, Lisa-Ann Gershwin, told the press she’ll try to get a scientific name approved for the new jellyfish, which she believes is related to other jellyfish called lion’s mane, and sometime Little Snotties.”

Don’t believe me? Gallopy-trot over to Mr. Google’s house and peruse his photo albums. Key-in “snotty jellyfish” and see what appears.

“Harry,” calls a sweetly distant voice. “You still scribbling repulsive stuff?”

“Penning thoughts Shakespearian, my Duck. Regarding Hamlet, to be more specific.”

Had Hamlet been a bay-boy, he wouldn’t have grown to manhood without spending time belly-down on a wharf attempting to jig sculpins.

Had Horatio been a bay-boy, he’d might have seen Hamlet pointing at the saltwater and beckoning him, saying, “Horatio, come see this. Here’s something you’ve never dreamt of.”

Of course, this is a scene of whimsy. In reality, Hamlet, Horatio, and even Polonius if he was seeking whale-like critters, would have needed to be in Montana to truly see the never-before-seen Cedar Sculpin.

Again, back in January, at roughly the same time Big Snotty was drying to a crusty booger on a Tasmanian beach, a crew of scientific fellows netting the Montana section of the Columbia River discovered the Cedar Sculpin — “A tiny fish characterized by a disproportionately large head.”

Oddly, to bay-boys anyway, Cedar Sculpy is a small, freshwater fish, unlike the big bucko with a gob the size of a galvanized bucket that dwells in salty environs.

The Cedar Sculpin is a shrimp, so to speak, usually growing no bigger than six inches long, tops.

Hardly worth jigging. Definitely no fun to tow through a sawdust pile at the end of a bamboo trouting line, eh b’ys?

The Cedar Sculpin is a “new” fish, a rare discovery, according to Michael Young, co-author of a scientific description of the find published in the “peer-reviewed” journal Zootaxa.

The Cedar Sculpin doesn’t altogether resemble the big ugly friggers that live by the government wharf.

OK, to say “ugly” is unfair because ugly is in the eye of … well, any self-respecting bay-boy.

That being said, read what is said about the wee cedar fishy in the scientific description: “The big-headed fish are known for their ill-favoured looks.”

“That’s a sin,” Dearest Duck would say if she saw that scientific description and she’d swat me for saying ugly.

I’ve alluded to Shakespeare. Now I shall quote scripture: Ecclesiastics 1:9 — “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Poppycock, eh b’ys?

Thank you for reading.

— Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at

Organizations: CNN

Geographic location: Denmark, Tasmania, Montana Columbia River Dunville

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