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Friday, August 1, 2014

Otter Friday (the 13th)

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Important news, everyone. If you've been paying attention to Blogtown for any span of time, you know our own Erik Henriksen has an unparalleled love for the rascally river otter. He instituted the (now-largely-defunct) "Otter Friday" some time ago to revel in their roly-poly antics. See examples here, here, and here. Every single time it rains, Erik looks stoically out the window and says: "Yup. Wet as an otter's pocket out there." Then he shakes his head and goes back to searching for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles GIFs.

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So there was only one person I could turn to when news emerged yesterday that one of our jovial river companions had savaged a boy and his grandma on Washington's Pilchuck River.

From the Everett Herald:

The boy was swimming in the Pilchuck River with his grandmother around 11 a.m. when the otter attacked, said Capt. Alan Myers with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife. When the grandmother attempted to fend off the otter, the animal attacked her, as well.

Based on initial reports, the boy likely needs stitches and his grandmother has a severe eye injury, Myers said.

The latest information indicates the grandmother may lose that eye.

It's Friday. Everyone's talking about otters. So where's Erik? I tentatively broached the matter over iChat, and met instant hostility: "IT WAS CLEARLY THE GRANDMOTHER'S FAULT," Erik wrote. "That otter does not deserve to die."

Obviously this has been grating at Erik Henriksen. I decided to conduct an impromptu interview, a transcript of which follows.

DV: So Erik. You might have heard an otter attacked a boy and his grandmother recently. Sounds pretty vicious. Should people be leery of the heretofore amusing river otter?

EH: I was going to write an impassioned defense of the otter, but dude. Old ladies missing eyes kind of sucks the fun out of it.

DV: So you’re saying otters are villains?

EH: No comment.

DV: You’re interested in otters. Do you attribute the savagery evinced on the Pilchuck River yesterday to disease, temperament or otter instinct?

EH: We don't know the otter's motivations. It could have been provoked. I said no comment, Rita Skeeter.

DV: Otters are well known—and well loved—for their predilection for bashing shells onto rocks. In your expert opinion, is it possible that eight-year-old boy’s head looked like a clam? Or that his grandmother’s eye was somehow conch-like?

EH: I have to go.

DV: You’ve never been known as much of a swimmer, Erik. Is this tragedy more or less likely to convince you to brave our waterways?

At this point, Erik left his (stand-up) desk. I called to him as he was walking up the stairs and gave him a "what the hell?" gesture with my hands. He looked down at me, with more spite than usual, and said: "I've said all I have to say. Please respect my privacy."

He returned to his (stand-up) desk a few minutes later and wrote these messages in quick, troubling succession:

"I know how to swim."

"I know to not bother otters."

"I don't want to make light of an old lady getting her eye ripped out of its socket."

"It was probably the grandson who did it."

These are dark times for Erik Henriksen.

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