Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Detroit hockey fans: Two paws down!

When I heard about the tradition of Detroit Red Wings fans lobbing octopi onto the ice during playoff games at their home stadium, first I thought: Why? And then I thought: We are talking about stuffed animals, aren't we? But then I heard on the news that the arena's zamboni driver has been threatened with a $10,000 fine from the NHL if he swings any hurled octopus over his head in celebration. The reason? Bits of octopus might get on the floor and trip up a skater. Then I realized ... these aren't the fluffy innards of a kids toy. We're talking gooey bits of boiled cephalopod.

I know that people eat octopus. Eating is necessary. I do it myself. But pranks that waste food, especially food-with-a-face, are abhorrent, and you humans should be ashamed. This applies to people who make sculptures out of Spam, talk-show hosts who catapult cutlets and Mythbusters who blast pig carcasses to test some infantile ballistics theory. Every year, some 15 million children around the world die of hunger. Could you look even one of them in the face and explain how you squander the very resource that would give them life?

Dan Wholey, a Pittsburgh fishmonger, announced that he won't sell octopus to any Red Wings fans. And I thought, good for him. Then I learned the reason for his moratorium. It's not because he doesn't want to see such an end come to a creature that can remove a jar lid to retrieve treats hidden inside. No, it turns out Wholey's a fan of the Pittburgh Penguins, who will battle the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals this weekend in Detroit. He doesn't want to make it any easier for Red Wings fans to show their "team spirit."

In the name of all that is holy, people: Stop playing with your food. Or at the very least, when you're done playing with it, eat it. That's what I do.

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