2007.12.12 Dolphin love

Written by David Green.


I’ve brought home shiny buckeyes, both in the shell and out. I’ve collected bladdernut pods with dried seeds that rattle in the wind.

I’ve collected honeylocust pods and wafer ash seed clusters. I’ve come home with mayapples and cicada exoskeletons.

Milkweed and dogbane pods bursting with seed. Tiny beechnuts. Hickory nuts. A fascinating variety of acorns. Snake weed and jewelweed. Boneset and pawpaw.

Wondrous fossils. Stalks of yarrow. Dried mint. Cow parsnip heads. Wahoo fruit, beautiful wahoo fruit.

What more could a woman want?

Well, I suppose there’s the obvious: “I want you to get rid of all this stuff,” but my wife never said that.

With this behavior, I would be the romeo of the dolphin world. I’d have to fight the ladies off.

At least that’s the idea I got from reading about the boto dolphin of the Amazon rain forest. The males are frequently spotted bringing gifts of seaweed, sticks and mud to the ladies, and it apparently drives them wild.

Dolphin watchers have known about the behavior for years, but it’s only recently they decided it wasn’t just boys having fun. Instead, they conclude that it’s men on the prowl. Three years of study in Brazil’s Mamirauá ecological reserve strongly suggest it's a sexual display.

How do you come to a conclusion like that? Well, it’s almost always the men who are seen carrying gifts, it’s almost always done in the presence of females and it isn’t done by young boys.

If it were just for fun, said researcher  Dr. Tony Martin of the British Antarctic Survey, then everybody would be doing it.

And the clincher? I know this will settle your skeptical mind: DNA tests revealed that males who carried the most gifts were also the ones with the most children.

This puts dolphins in the culture club, along with other interesting animals such as chimpanzees and humans. They all show skills and behavior learned from previous generations, rather than passed down through the genes.

There are other ways to a woman’s heart besides seaweed, such as through the feet. My wife loves a good foot rub, as do I, but I’ve got a slight problem right now.

When I was getting out of the shower last week, I gave my trailing foot a good flick to shake off the water. What I ended up doing was no flick. It was a self-destructive act of striking a toe against the metal railing where the shower door travels.

For a couple of days, every step hurt a little bit. Even now, any touch sends a wave of pain through the foot.

That seems to be the toe of choice for my wife to grab during acts of mutual foot rubbing. You know how it goes, don’t you? Face to face on the sofa, watching a movie and taking turns massaging a foot.

Last night there was no time for a movie, but we got in a quick rub. She yanked at my sock by grabbing the special toe.

“Not that toe!” I yelled.

She got the sock off and grabbed the toe. What’s wrong with this woman?

“Not the lazy toe!” I yelled as I recoiled.

I couldn’t think of any other way to describe it quickly. Please avoid the fourth toe from the right.

Then she started squeezing the same injured toe, asking, “The lazy toe. What’s the lazy toe?”

Isn’t there some nursery rhyme about “this is my middle finger, this is my lazy finger, this is my pinkie finger.” I always assumed this transferred over to the toe and I was astounded that she didn’t know what toe to avoid.

I checked in with a ring toe website and they talk about the index toe.

“The most comfortable toe to wear a toe ring on is your index toe. This is because there is extra space between the big toe and the index toe. However, people who wear toe rings are as individual as the toes they wear them on so be yourself. We have clients who wear one ring on the pinkie toe and clients who will wear 5 and 6 rings scattered among various toes.”

Maybe that’s what I need to do—get a toe ring for my so-called lazy toe. Make it easy to see, easy to avoid.

The fortunate dolphin has no toes.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016