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National Editorials & Columns

Under the sea

The idea of reincarnation confuses me. The paradigm of doing good, spreading cheer and living life by some code of morality only to be reborn as another incarnation of life mystifies my mind. While reincarnation is a difficult concept to wrap one's brain around, I basically just have one question about it.

What do I need to do in this life to come back as an octopus in the next?

In a nut shell, what am I doing right, what am I doing wrong and what sins do I need to atone for to guarantee that when I leave this world behind that I will be coming back as an eight-tentacled mollusk?

Yes, an octopus actually scientifically qualifies as a mollusk. If you don't believe me find a time travel machine, go back to 1993 and look it up in an encyclopedia (remember when those were still relevant) or visit the nearest library (also no longer relevant). Or you could just assume I know what I am talking about because any person who wants to become an octopus as much as I do has done his homework.

When you ask someone what they want to be reincarnated as they give you predictable answers. A beloved family canine, a fattened and apathetic house cat, a frolicking river otter or an apolitical Hollywood celebrity.

For a long time I wanted to be a duck. Why? Um, ducks are awesome, that's why. Ducks are like the all-terrain birdbrains of the animal kingdom. Ducks can travel by land, air and water. Being a duck would be like riding on a train that has the ability to fly — and travel across water all at the same time.

That whole duck reincarnation idea went down the drain once I pieced together the meaning behind the word dynasty in the show "Duck Dynasty." It's a dynasty manufactured and paved from the dead, rotting carcasses of ducks. Society, it would seem, is so anti-duck that we are all willing to make a bearded Louisiana family rich and famous for assisting humanity with the complete eradication of the great winged menace.

One of the most endearing reasons I want transformed into an octopus would be to have eight arms. That's pretty appealing if you ask me. The other day I was assembling a book case and I thought to myself, "This wouldn't seem like such a daunting task if I was also reading a book, playing ping pong, eating pretzels, solving a crossword, pirating movies online, and practicing with a ventriloquist's dummy — all at the same time — this very moment."

My desire of turning into an octopus after I bite the big one would be a fitting transition for me. As a human being, I am pretty spineless to begin with, so naturally a metamorphosis into an invertebrate would be a simple endeavor. Sort of like a fish taking to, uh, never mind.

I just wish there was something I could do to further solidify my chances of being reincarnated as an octopus.

Should I go around preying on any nearby prawns, crabs and cephalopods that I come across in my daily journeys? Should I start squirting black ink in the eyes of my foes and opponents before using butt-propulsion to make an especially expeditious getaway? Should my daily activities involve more skulking and less stalking, or more stalking and less skulking?

A man can have a dream, can't he?

Maybe someday I will find myself scrounging along the ocean floor with eight arms in what I understand to be plentiful underwater gardens.

But until that day, I will just keep cursing these two measly human arms of mine.

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