Opting For Octopi

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about hybrids. Not cars, but the unusual combinations of humans, animals, or objects that result in interesting powers or characters. Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Beast are the most obvious examples, though the basic idea has been a part of various cultures since the beginning of recorded history. Though less spectacular in real-life biology, it’s still a common and important aspect of the natural world. Being able to augment and enhance your own abilities by combining with other beings is a fascinating – if occasionally terrifying – aspect of fantasy.

As for me…Hmmm. This is actually kind of hard. The knee-jerk reaction would be to say bird wings, thus granting me the ability to fly. However, that one might be more trouble than it’s worth. Think about it. From a physics perspective, my wings would have to be a good 12 feet or so; the sheer bulk of muscles needed for flapping them would be like having a hang glider strapped to my back. Can you imagine the logistics involved with that? How would I sleep? Put on clothes? Get through doors? How much food and oxygen would I have to consume to have enough energy to fly? Not to mention all the people trying to hunt me down for experiments. I’d much rather have magnetoception, which is what allows birds and other animals to sense the planet’s magnetic field. It’d be like having a GPS uploaded into my mind; I’d be able to explore the world without ever getting truly lost!

The last part of the hybrid would probably involve octopi. They’re my favorite animals, and for good reason; not only are they highly intelligent, but they’re brimming with all kinds of abilities. Being able to change skin pigmentation and texture on a whim would be great for blending in to different environments and avoiding unwanted detection. It’s not full-blown invisibility, but it’s definitely worth having. If I’m in a fight, I’d have some extremely lethal poison as my trump card. My skeletal structure would be altered just enough to make me more limber, and an additional statocyst would help with balance and overall athleticism. With my improved sense of touch, I could better analyze objects and develop tactile technology. Depending on what species I choose, I could produce my own private light source. I could create my own custom inking business, too! Unlike bird wings, I could easily tie my extra appendages back and save them for when I need to do some extra-heavy lifting.

Also, I have to give an honorary mention to Cthulhu. Hybrid cephalopods don’t get any cooler than that, though I’m not exactly keen on having mastery of madness and mind alteration. I’ll stick to the squids of Earth.

Daily Prompt: Tattoo….You?, Or: Blank Skin, Too Many Choices!

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is about tattoos. Much to the surprise of anyone who assumes I’m a goth/punk/rock star based on my appearance, I don’t have any ink. It’s not because I’m squeamish around needles. And it’s certainly not because I find them unappealing; an excellent, tasteful tattoo can be really attractive. For me, it always seemed like a huge step in an unusual (though not bad) direction. Some corporate workplaces don’t encourage it, at least if the art is visible. There’s this bizarre, persisting belief that professionalism and tattoos don’t mix, as if they affect an individual’s competency. Considering how companies are supposedly pushing for more individuality, diversity, and creativity, the assumptions about tattoos are paradoxical, if not outright hypocritical. One of the most competent, business-savvy people I ever worked under had ink on her legs, but had to wear tights every workday because visible tattoos were forbidden. Social perspectives are starting to shift in favor of competency over personal appearance, but its extent is anyone’s guess.

My family’s attitude, however, isn’t going to going to change anytime soon. You should’ve seen the ruckus that got stirred up when I decided to grow my hair out. My mother was incredulous. Some of my relatives nicknamed me the CDL: Colombian Drug Lord. I’ve never done drugs, and nor been to South America. I still get half-joking threats of someone sneaking in and cutting my hair in my sleep….But I’ll save those shenanigans for another post. Tattoos are a personal thing; it’s ultimately up to the person, not the family, to choose responsibly. My hang-up is with my general appearance. I’m in much better shape than I was in college – I still hike and wander the city regularly – but I’ve got nothing worth showing off. I’m definitely not Calvin Klein model; I’ve got maybe a one-and-a-half pack on my best days. If I’m that average, would a tattoo really look that good on me?

I don’t know.

What I do know are the kinds of tattoos I’d get if I had the nerve. My favorite animal is the octopus. It’s one of the most intelligent and crafty members of the animal kingdom. Most people associate wisdom with owls due to their connection with Athena. However, octopi excel at stealth, dextrous tool-use, spatial memory, and navigation. They look weird, but undeniably awesome. It’d be cool to get a huge, detailed one spanning across one shoulder, with tentacles going down my arms, back, or chest. But since I’m huge literature geek, I’d probably go with a specific cephalopod: Cthulhu. Forget Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean; I want to have H.P. Lovecraft’s god of insanity on me.

But if I’m going with a literary-themed one, it’d probably be a famous passage drawn on my back. Maybe Hamlet’s soliloquy. An excerpt from Tennyson’s Ulysses, perhaps. The openings to Moby-Dick or A Tale of Two Cities. There’s a cavalcade of literary quotes I could use. Or maybe I could just have a huge stack of of my favorite books along my spine. Or maybe I should stick to paintings, like Van Gogh’s The Starry Night or Raphael’s The School of Athens. A Scorpio-themed one would be fitting, but kind of bland. Or I could get a video-game themed one, like Akuma’s Sky/Heaven symbol, the Triforce or Amaterasu. Samus Aran, Chun-Li, or Big Boss would all be serious contenders as well.

But if I wanted to go really esoteric, it’d have to be an astronomy one. Maybe the Pillars of Creation or the entirety of the Eagle Nebula. That probably wouldn’t translate well to ink and skin, though…

Yeah, I should stop. I’m going spend like an hour looking up cool/geeky tattoos that I’ll probably never get. But I can still imagine.