Written by John Butler
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Topics: suicide, Report

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

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Apparently depressed penguins literally "queuing up" to commit suicide

A Report From Edward R Morrow

Good evening. Nobody knows exactly why they're feeling so depressed. Nobody knows exactly how to cheer them up. All we know is that if penguins continue at their current rate of self-annihilation, their species are likely to become extinct by, at the very latest, mid-2007.

[MORROW TAKES DRAG ON CIGARETTE]

The past 2 months has seen thousands of Antarctic penguins, young and old, fat and thin, gather at "Dejectguin Drop", a notorious stretch of iceberg off of which the penguins are throwing themselves, bringing to a halt their seemingly miserable existences.

Across the globe, everyone from concerned members of Green Peace, to lovers of the funny-looking flightless birds in general, have been racking their brains to establish just why an entire species can, for no apparent reason, begin feeling so down in the dumps that they they just cannot go on living.

Many consider penguin suicide the most inexplicable behavioural phenomena seen in animals since thousands of African cheetahs, back in 1933, were discovered to have painted crude self-portraits on some cave walls despite not possessing opposable thumbs. Some speculated that they had used their teeth to grip the paintbrush but no one could figure out what possessed the cheetahs to paint pictures of themselves, let alone how they acquired the actual paint.

Although the penguin's suicidal inclinations have baffled just about everyone, several leading scientists along with top animal psychologists have been putting forward theories as to why penguins are doing what they're doing.

"Of course we know the vast majority of penguins are depressed", says renowned animal psychologist, Dr. Clifden Farthingwood. "This is obvious from the suicides".

[MORROW TAKES DRAG ON CIGARETTE]

Farthingwood however, who has been studying penguin behaviour at close quarters for some ten years, added, "But why these penguins are feeling so blue is another question entirely".

Farthingwood, along with some of esteemed peers, has put forward the theory that penguins may have suddenly evolved a human like ability to self-loathe thereby implanting within them a desire to end their life. Such views have been sorely contested by creationists and fundamentalists who say penguins are the way they are because that's how God made them and yadda yadda. Yeah whatever... idiots.

[MORROW TAKES DRAG ON CIGARETTE]

Dr. Farthingwood explained, "There is a school of thought that says penguins may have recently evolved the capacity for "negative self-reflection". In other words, they have suddenly developed the ability, as us humans did so long ago, to reflect on just how crap their lives are".

Of course it is common knowledge that human beings will often end their life if they perceive that life to be "crap". Can we say the same of penguins?

Dr. Farthingwood adds, "interestingly we have gathered evidence in recent times that shows how penguins' lives could also be perceived as "crap". Indeed, many would say extremely crap".

[MORROW TAKES DRAG ON CIGARETTE]

He points to Luc Jacquet's recent, hugely successful documentary, March Of The Penguins, as "ample illustration of just how "depressingly tedious" a penguin's life can be and how they maybe, just maybe, could be compelled to end it all as a consequence".

The film shows how Emperor penguins in their thousands must abandon the security of their ocean home treading precariously across frozen ice to begin their long journey into a region so bleak, so extreme, it supports no other wildlife at that time of year.

In single file, the penguins march, snailpaced, their eyesight severely irritated by gale force blizzards, to a ritual breeding ground. Farthingwood believes that "to a human, this process would seem incredibly pointless and enough to justify suicide".

Once they reached their mating spot, the Penguins find they must commit to a monogamous relationship, with the male stubbornly forced to incubate over a single egg for two straight months in the shiversome cold.

The question Farthingwood and some others are now asking is have these penguins finally come to the realisation that enduring such bitter tedium is no way to live.

Shaking his head in sympathy, Dr. Farthingwood says, "is it any wonder these penguins are depressed? If I were in their position, I would certainly be contemplating... well... you know what"

[MORROW TAKES EXTENDED DRAG ON CIGARETTE]

Whatever the reason for these penguin's lemming-like urge to kill themselves, one hopes they will see sense before it is too late. Good night and Good Luck.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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