Conjecture of the Deep
Through the marvel of the Internet, I’ve made the acquaintance of the wife of my fourth cousin, once removed. It’s the marvel of the age, this Internet thing, and kids growing up now will not fully appreciate its marvelosity… marvelitude… marvelousness… the wonder of it all.
Also, please see Dead Presidents Daily. Today, presidential paternity.
My daughters are bound to grow up a little strange. Today, Lilly offhandedly wished that mermaids were real. She’s been influenced by the sunny view of mermaids and mermen propagated by Disney and that ilk, so I had the urge to suggest a different view of a world in which merfolk were real.
“Well," I mused, "if mermaids and mermen really existed, I think they would have started punching holes in the bottoms of wooden ships as soon as people started sailing the oceans.” [Daughter looks at me askance] “No really, either from fear of land-people invading the water, or to plunder the iron and other stuff from the ships, things they couldn’t make themselves.”
“No way, Daddy.”
“Yeah, and of course people would have responded by attacking any merfolk that ventured near beaches or in shallow water.”
“It would be a history of bitter fighting…”
And that was that. But I could have added more detail – the arming of sailing ships with merfolk harpoons to shoot down near the hull; the capture and unhappy fate of mermen and -maids in the Merfolk Panic in colonial Massachusetts; the eventual communication with some tribes of merfolk in the 20th century, to the point that some of them were recruited by the Nazis to sink Allied ships, while others attacked Axis vessels; and their role in the Cold War, in which the United States supported King Trident (not precisely an enlightened despot), while the Soviet Union backed the rival Democratic Republic of the Pacific Basin, whose notorious gulags were in the Sea of Okhotsk.