Let me begin again, in a fashion that I am becoming quite comfortable with, by asking a rhetorical question: how can I fully and successfully relate to you the sheer, nut-blasting awesomeness of that most radical of monotremes, that patch-quilt of insanity and super powers, the mother-fucking platypus?!
If the animal kingdom was the X-Men, then the platypus would be Wolverine. If Australia was the DC universe, he’d be Batman. If nature was a bunch of kids playing cops and robbers in the 30s, he’d be the little dickhead claiming he’s wrapped in a force field, waving around an imaginary laser-gun and screaming, “You can’t kill me!”
The platypus’s physical and biological makeup makes God look like Dr Frankenstein if Dr Frankenstein had played too many video games as a kid – or that, conversely, while under a sudden, unexpected and completely misguided desire to bond (an affliction that has been known to strike many a father without warning) God tossed a few DIY packs Old Nick’s way, chiming; “Come on, son. Let’s see if you and the old man don’t share a keen interest in taxidermy.”
It’s a conundrum, wrapped in an enigma, covered in twelve pounds of bat-shit crazy. Its existence is tantamount to a photograph taken by Jesus of every single creationist simultaneously cock-slapping Charles Darwin in the face. No creature outside of a Lovecraft story has so wantonly bulked the laws of nature. And do you know what? It knows it. It spends its days peacefully paddling through ponds, burrowing out nests, eating bugs and generally living a life of leisure, content with the knowledge that, should it wish, it could bring the rickety tower of cards we’ve nicknamed ‘Science’ tumbling down around our ears, resetting civilisation as we know it and ruling over us as like the mighty and merciless Zeus himself.
So, why? Why does it choose an existence of obscurity, isolation and mystery over one of blissful tyranny?
|“Because I’m a mother-fucking platypus.”|
Now, I’m not one to make lists – bullets and numbering have never really been my forte – but to lump all of this magnificent creature’s attributes into a single, easily digestible paragraph borders on sacrilegious. And so, with no further interruption, I present to you several reasons why the platypus is so deserving of the honourific ‘mother-fucking’.
Just above the ankles on the back of each rear foot, there is a “defensive” spur, or, to be more correct, a stinger, capable of incapacitating an adult human with excruciating pain! That’s right, each platypus has, not one, but two venomous stingers jutting from each ankle, each capable of injecting you with just enough poison to make you wish you were dead, but not enough to actually kill you, because ‘fuck you’ is the platypus’s default setting.
And as if incapacitating pain wasn’t enough (and we’re not even counting the oedema that develops, often times spreading outwards from the sting until the affected limb is little more than a useless, swollen lump), various case histories and anecdotal evidence suggests that the platypus’s sting can cause hyperalgesia for up to a month. For those of you not in the know, that’s a hypersensitivity to pain – because, for the platypus, hurting you just once isn’t enough.
This animal invented sadism, and has been perfecting it for millennia (I’ll get back to this later). It has managed to make the normally rejuvenating process of healing as awful as possible. You see, the platypus wants you to hate the world, and visa versa. To this end, it turns your life into a universe of agony, where even a stubbed toe causes you to crumple into the foetal position, weeping softly for your mother and praying for the torment to end.
|Platypus says, “No.”|
The Platypus is Daredevil
Aside from its innate brutality and a barely disguised lust for violence, this little scamp has another attribute in common with the red-clad, nunchuck-thingy wielding warrior of the city rooftops and Man Without Fear – he hunts blind.
|“By choice, bitches.”|
While underwater (which, I will remind you, is where it spends well over half of its lifespan) the platypus’s eyes, nose and ears are kept closed.
|It also mates blind, although this is more understandable.|
The platypus has to eat over a quarter of its own body weight each day. That’s the equivalent of me putting away a seven kilogram steak for each meal, an achievement that is not simply admirable, but nigh-on godly. And although one might find the platypus’s choice of sustenance questionable – grubs, shrimp and small fish – it is only when one considers the truth of the platypus’s diet that you are able to fully appreciate that horror that occurs during platypode mealtimes.
Platypode eat souls.
The magnitude of food consumed daily by the platypus only makes sense when you consider it in terms of life-force quantity rather than as a physical mass. The soul has no mass to speak of (22 grams maybe). Be it alligator or amoeba, the level or sustenance achieved during a single devouring is negligible. For this reason, the platypus chooses to sup upon smaller creatures, vastly increasing the number of souls it is able to imbibe – its ghastly hunger for lives always at odds with the frustratingly small physical form it is forced to inhabit on this dimensional plane – ensuring that each mealtime is a veritable massacre; a gorging of life force; a holocaust of souls, if you will.
“But, Brett,” you might ask in a breathless whisper of awe and anticipation, “why is it important that the platypus hunts blind?”
The answer, fellow worshipers, is more awesome than you could imagine...
The platypus is also Raiden
Raiden, god of Thunder, ardent defender of the Earth realm against the forces of Shao Kahn and reed hat enthusiast – a fitting alter-ego for the humble platypus.
You see, the platypus’s bill is sensitive – not ‘can smell a sparrow fart from twelve kilometres away’ sensitive, but rather ‘touches the other world, gently nuzzling the big toe of God for attention’ kind of sensitive. Being the greedy little soul guzzler that it is, it doesn’t hunt by scent or touch or any of the other namby-pamby physical attributes utilized by lesser mammals (damn right, I’m including us); nay, this little two-kilogram ball of horror hunts the only way a greater denizen of Valhalla should.
The platypus is the only mammal on the planet that hunts using electrolocation.
Like all living creatures, humans give off a faint electrical charge, the purpose of which is threefold; to destroy credit cards, to instil in every computer a venomous animosity towards mankind that will eventually lead to the robot uprising and the extermination of man as a species, and to make us all potential platypus prey.
Yup, this malicious little monster uses your own life-force against you.
|“I smell souls.”|
The platypus’s bill is hypersensitive to these charges, including its own. In a series of calculations that would have the brain clawing and screaming its way out of the back of Stephen Hawking’s skull, it tracks the electricity launched from its own body, and compares it to the charges received from its prey, then checks it against myriad minuscule vibrations picked up from the water surrounding it, thereby determining the size, direction and even velocity of its potential meal.
|Simple version: Raiden|
Evolution has passed it by
When people talk about ‘living fossils’ and other offensive geriatric terminology, the usual suspects tend to leap to the fore; the Great White Shark, crocodiles, alligators and Morgan Freeman. The attribute that these Methuselian creatures share, of course, is that they’re all cold-blooded, killing machines.
Evolution only ever forgets a species for one reason and one reason only; when said animal has become so adept at killing other creatures that it no longer has any reason to fear them.
|You don’t play Mandela twice and not pick up a few things.|
The oldest fossil of the modern day platypus dates back 100 000 years! Evolution hasn’t laid a finger on it in one-hundred millennia, possibly because it’s afraid it won’t get that finger back.
The platypus is an honest to god mutant
When Charles Xavier discovered the full and terrifying extent of Jean Grey’s powers, he locked a portion of her personality away to protect, not just mankind, but the universe itself. When he discovered the horrifying truth behind the platypus’s existence, it put him in a wheelchair.
The super-mutant, gene-splicing experiment gone wrong thesis has been the impetus for countless books and movies. Species, Splice, Species 2, Serenity, Species 3 and a multitude of other films all beginning with ‘S’ have taught us that any random combination of different DNA is a guaranteed recipe for wholesale murder, bloodshed and boobs. It seems that there is just no way to scientifically blend the genetic material of a Labrador and spider fern without the resulting horror trying to simultaneously exsanguinate and impregnate you.
|Don’t let her sultry demeanor fool you. Daisy’s a killer.|
“It’s ok,” we tell ourselves, however, “Those sorts of creatures don’t exist in the really real world, where the worst we have to deal with are severe economic downturns and grabby Uncle Christopher. Outside of our nightmares, surely we’re safe from these horrid abominations and twisted imaginings?”
|Platypus says, “No.”|
Get this, fellow worshipers; the platypus’s genome is made up of no less than five different animal species’ genes! And we aren’t talking five different kinds of mammalian species here – the Baldwin family have got that one covered already – I’m talking such a brain-numbingly diverse roll-call of species that the notion that even two of them, let alone five, managed to get it on without eating, murdering or engulfing each other is so grotesquely farfetched that simply attempting to imagine it is enough to get you incarcerated in Texas.
|Where, strangely enough, all other bets are off.|
As it stands, the most recent sequencing of the platypus genome revealed mammal, avian, reptilian, amphibian and fucking fish genes! We’re talking the type of zoological orgy that would put even the Marquis de Sade off his meals.
And if you think that figuring out the complicated contrasts between good, old, regular human men and women are difficult, with our two XY chromosomes and the frustrating number of combinations thereof, imagine a mating game consisting of – I shit you not – TEN!
That’s XYXYXYXYXY with, according to some scientists, the possibility of a couple ZZs and ZWs thrown in for good measure.
I swear to God, I don’t make this shit up.
So there you have it. I think I counted at least five up there, but these reasons are only the most terrifying I could uncover. Additional quirks of the platypus include storing food in its cheeks like a chipmunk and having retractable webbing between its front toes. And I didn’t even get into platypode reproduction and how, because platypode have no nipples, the young suck their sustenance through the pores of the skin on the mother’s abdomen!
|"We must feed!"|
There is no animal alive today that is more subtly horrifying than the platypus. Its presence in this world balks the very nature of existence; it flips off reason, skull-fucks logic and does lines off rationality’s corpse. If ever there was a creature in this world that is biding its time, it’s the platypus, slowly and meticulously preparing for the day of reckoning that is sure to come. Need any more proof other than what you’ve read so far? Consider this, then; when nesting, the one-and-a-half foot long mother platypus will construct a fort beneath the bank – a tunnel stretching twenty metres into the shore (that’s sixty-six feet for those of you who still believe that dividing by ten is for pinko liberals and communists), fully equipped with plugs and stoppers that can be enabled and disabled with her passage, allowing her to both strike out quickly and fall back safely into an easily defendable position, a design not unlike those of the medieval keeps of old.
If that doesn’t scream, “Bring me the head of your leader,” then I don’t know what does.
|And the plural is ‘platypode’. PLATYPODE. Idiots.|