I’m human, and like all humans I’m not immune to fear. I’m scared of the dark, and sure, aliens are fascinating, but they creep me out. Don’t even get me started on snakes—I’m terrified.
Mermaids make me think of Ariel, from Disney’s The Little Mermaid(one of my favorites). You know, the cute little redhead with a sweet voice who wanted nothing more than to become human. Oh, and she had a couple of interesting habits, like brushing her hair with a fork and collecting “thingamabobs.”
At least that is the image the word “mermaid” used to conjure. Before last night. Before my husband’s weird television habits distracted me once again from writing (I really do need to put up a room divider between my desk and the TV). No Vampire Diaries this time, or Breaking Bad. Nooooo. This time he switched the channel to Animal Planet, which aired a re-run “documentary” called Mermaids: The Body Found. It was part of their monster week line-up. That should have told me all I needed to know.
Obviously, the show caught my interest. I alternated between wanting to scream at my character’s shitty dialogue and watching in rapt attention as Animal Planet revealed a supposed government cover-up. They even showed live footage of a real mermaid that had washed up on the beach. (Warning: if the movie The Ring scared the bejesus out of you, don’t watch this video at 2 a.m. with all the lights out. Especially if you’re alone.)
Thank you, Animal planet, for destroying my perception of mermaids. Since this “body” was discovered off the coast of Washington, it really hit close to home, as I’m in Oregon. I’ve always viewed the ocean as a calming place, a sanctuary. Now I can’t erase the image of that half-alien, half-human creature with webbed hands they supposedly captured on film. My inner skeptic insists I use the word “supposedly,” while the side of me that believes in the existence of aliens, Big Foot, and the Loch Nest Monsters of the world thinks that maybe there was some truth to the documentary.