What’s With All the Penguins?


I would just like to know, when did penguins become so popular? And why? People just can’t seem to get enough penguin movies, to say nothing of T-shirts, refrigerator magnets and thong panties. Slap a penguin on it and get rich.

I’m guessing the tipping point was the film The March of the Penguins, which won an Oscar for best documentary in 2006, so I assumed it must be good. It’s penguins marching. The penguins march to the sea, the penguins march back. Then they march to the sea, then they march back. Then they march… I get it! Who cares?

Since then it’s been nothing but penguin films. Penguins relocating from one place to another, penguins lost and in trouble (no wonder), animated penguins dancing and telling jokes. Thirty years from now it will be a movie genre: Film Noir, Classic American Western, Penguin.

Which brings me to the reason why penguins have been on my mind. It seems a 10-month-old, 22-pound penguin from Antarctica got lost and ended up 2,000 miles away on a New Zealand beach last week. The story caught my eye because I happen to have a 10-month-old, 22-pound grandson, who just last weekend was lying in the doorway between my living and dining rooms, unsure if he should crawl into the living room, where the DVD player is within reach, or the dining room, where Mom was, so he just laid there paralyzed by indecision.

You’d think someone would rescue the lost penguin and send it home, but authorities say they don’t want to mess with nature, which if true would have to be a first for humankind. No, they are waiting for the befuddled adolescent to jump back into the ocean and reorient itself in the general direction of Antarctica. Excuse me? That’s a little like asking Baby Bret to navigate from my living room to his house 20 miles away. Good luck, little penguin.


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