Did you ever see a giant squid? They are amazing, frightening, real life Monsters of the Deep! There’s a giant squid on display at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to that museum. I have to remember not to go during the school year when kids and their chaperons swarm like schools of fish all over the museum. Even if the kids are relatively quiet and well behaved as individuals, the sound level of their multitudes undermines the quiet that I need when I check out a monster.
Still, I do plan to see that giant again. She (yes, this squid is a female) is 36 feet long with 22-foot long tentacles. She weighs in at an impressive 330 lbs. That would be an astoundingly large basket of breaded and fried calamari rings! And I don’t want to think about that lake full of hot oil for frying…
This makes me all the more glad that the giant squid was not chopped up for food and her outsized presence is there on display for all of us to see. If you manage to find your way to her exhibit when the kids are not in school, be sure to take a minute and let yourself imagine coming across her when you are snorkeling or scuba diving. You’d be face-to-face with a true-to-life Monster of the Deep.
I used to love the American Museum of Natural History here in New York. It was dark and spooky and filled with the most fantastic, and seemingly fantastical, creatures. When I was a child it was poorly lit and you could look up and discover the skeletal remains of a huge, open jaw hovering above your head.
For a while in the 80s, you could go there on a Friday night and wander the almost empty halls of dinosaurs. It was romantic, in the 19th century use of the word, full of imagination and subjective emotions.
Then came the long overdue renovations and updating of the museum. It came interactive and educational, and out went the creepy feeling that you were in the opening reel of a 1930s horror movie. Everybody seems to love it, but…. It’s lost its monster side.
What do baby carrots have to do with the giant squid?
You know those baby carrots in the plastic bags that they sell pre-washed and ready-to-eat in the supermarkets? They aren’t really baby carrots. They are machine cut big carrots for when you want to eat healthy without the hassle. They are often tasteless and dry. They are not like the real baby carrots that you can sometimes get at the farmer’s market or on the menu of high-end restaurants. Those are super sweet, crooked and surprising. That’s what I liked about the old exhibits at the Museum of Natural History. They were crooked, surprising and often filled with super sweet monsters.