This is not what I would ordinarily call a blog-worthy essay. It’s more of a single amusing mental image , but since it won’t go away, let’s see if getting it out of my head and onto the page provides any relief.
Our story begins with a tiny genetic accident of the sort that happens countless times every day. A couple of atoms on a cross-strand of the double helix go one way instead of another, and as a consequence of this minor misreplication of DNA there is born, in this specific case, a particular barnacle (let’s call him Barney) who is a little bit different. For one thing he has a smidgen higher brainpower than is average among barnacles, and also a LOT more inclination to figure out what the hell is going on around him.
For example, whereas most barnacles are content to simply be , Barney just naturally wants to know why he is . In certain aspects and to a greater than average extent, Barney ( within that narrow range of definition that can be applied in his case ) is a veritable philosopher of a barnacle .
In this manner, and unbeknownst to himself for most of his early life, he followed in the tradition of many who had gone before him, but as suggested earlier, Barney is a barnacle and so would have no way of knowing that. At any rate, he was certainly more given to thinking than the overwhelming majority of his brethren.
So, Barney pondered mightily upon many things, including the observation that most other barnacles don’t , which is to say they don’t ponder very much, and when they do ponder it is almost always about some way to gain some advantage for themselves over one or more of their hapless fellow barnacles.
On those occasions when they do bother to think , one of the things they think is that Barney is more than a little odd for thinking so much. But Barney is a nice barnacle, and they like him well enough, and don’t give him too much grief about it, other than insisting in ways both subtle and otherwise that they would much prefer he keep his odd ideas to himself because all that thinking makes them uncomfortable.
This actually relates to our story, because a significant portion of Barney’s life is consequently spent coping with the incessant insistence of others that he be completely different than what he was born to as. In other words, they insist that he be like them and that he think like them and for god’s sake stop wasting his time with all of that THINKING!
In any case Barney has little choice in the matter, because no matter what else he attempts, and no matter how he strives to pass himself off as just another barnacle, he just can’t stop thinking about stuff. Clickita, clickita, clickita (sounds of mental machinery working away day and night) And as he thinks, one of the more serious things that he thinks is that things overall aren’t really going quite as well for barnacles as they should be.
Barney the barnacle sees doom looming on the near horizon, not only for himself, but for the place he calls home, and also the home of all of his kindred monovalves. He tries to warn them, but none will listen. He tries to prepare, but preparation for extinction seems pretty pointless.
Then , after so many many years, something happened. A Life Altering flash of insight. The range , scope and clarity of the epiphany is stunning, complete, and with it comes both peace and a lopsided inner barnacle grin , which from that moment onward will never fully subside.
The expanded awareness that changes Barney’s worldview so profoundly is simply that he is , after all , just a barnacle! He is just as firmly nestled and attached to the hull, of the same vessel (which as luck would have it, happens to be the Titanic , ) as all of the rest of his crustaceous kind. And although there are the inevitable small regrets, that he might have done one thing or another differently during the brief span that is the life of a barnacle, he finds comfort and solace in the knowledge that he had spent that brief time pursuing things that were worth thinking about.