Well, unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware by
now that Spain defeated Germany in their World Cup semi-final match
But, unless you listened to
our show last night, you may not be aware of Paul the octopus, whom many
people credit with being more aware than most of us -- despite the fact
that he essentially does live under a rock, in an aquarium at Sea Life
brief two years on earth, Paul has been called upon to predict the
outcome of international soccer games involving Germany.
each match, he is presented with two glass cubes -- one marked with
Germany's flag, the other with that of the challenging team. Otherwise,
the containers are identical. And within each: a meal of mussels.
Whichever container Paul draws from first for his dinner indicates his choice for the winner of the game.
to his handlers, his success rate is nearly perfect. He's like a Magic
Eight-legged Ball. With way more reliability. In the lead-up to today's
semi-final showdown, Paul foretold the German team's fate with
one-hundred percent accuracy. And during the 2008 European World Cup,
Paul only erred once -- when he prophesied a German win over Spain. But
the Spaniards took the match -- and the cup -- with a decisive
one-nothing victory over their opponents.
when he was once again faced with choosing between these two teams,
well, you can imagine the pressure. I won't even mention that he was
already under considerable water pressure when he made it.
But it's a lot to ask of a naturally retiring fellow who's forced to
live in a glass house. Suddenly, the eyes of the world are on him. He
wakes up one day and he's got the People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals on one side, who've started campaigning for his release; and
fans of both Germany and Spain on the other issuing death threats and
vowing to make calamari of him if their team loses. And he's stuck in
between. It's a real PETA, Paul and marinade show. Which I'm sure he'd
just love to drown out with a scream. But he can't. It's sink or swim.
So the kid shows some spine -- well, OK, some pluck -- and swims up. And
after wavering over the German container, he changes his mind -- hey,
he's entitled, we all do from time to time, and apparently he's got nine
to deal with. So in the end, he goes with Spain.
Knowing full well -- if he knows at all -- that even when he's right, someone's gonna want a piece of him.