whale, that’s my story and i’m sticking to it

Dear Young Niece,

First, may I apologize for bad puns.

Second—I’ve decided not to send you the book, Whales of Canada, which was going to be your latest pocalog prize for successfully naming the largest whale, which, frankly, is hardly a giant feat given the willingness of google to do this kind of work for us. And by us I mean you. (And everyone else in the world. Including me.)

And I say not sendwhen what I really mean is not send yet… because I do want you to have the book. Eventually. By which I mean in the not too, too distant future. I know you like whales and my hope is that reading about them will appeal to you more than wanting to wave at them from over-crowded tourist boats, that you might choose to curl up, enjoy the book’s photos and recite fun and fascinating whale facts to your family over dinner or while they’re trying to watch Dancing with the Stars.

I’d actually got so far as writing you a note introducing the book; I’d even addressed the envelope into which I was about to slip it when I glanced at the index of twenty kinds of whales, each chapter title being a mini cetacean lesson in itself. (During which time I learned the word ‘cetacean’… and that it includes dolphins and porpoises.) I scanned pages of photos, a cross section of a whale’s head showing how it feeds and a chart showing how a blue whale is twice the size of a Brontosaurus. I flipped through tidily written chapters on diet and range and history and habit that debunk myths and offer up some general commentary on the state of whales and what’s to become of them if we don’t smarten up:

“Perhaps the best thing we could do would be to stay out of their way—with our oil tankers, effluent outpourings, radioactive spills and nuclear tests.”

And as I perused and flipped and scanned, it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember when or where I’d bought the book, or even if I’d ever sat down and read it properly myself.

The point is I suddenly loved it far too much to give away.

I know. It’s hard to hear. But stuff like this happens.

I’m hoping you’ll take some comfort in the fact that you had no idea the book was meant to be your prize. My change of heart, therefore, shouldn’t be too earth shatteringly depressing for you. Not to mention that I’ll be on the hunt for something to replace the book with (because you’re still owed a prize, google search notwithstanding). And given what amounts to more than a soupcon of guilt arising from a twisted sense of selfishness on my part, it should be something good.

But, I hope, for your sake, not too good…

oceans of love,
auntie c.

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