The Opportunity of a Lifetime

October 6, 2009
By Molly Pelavin SILVER, New York City, New York
Molly Pelavin SILVER, New York City, New York
9 articles 4 photos 1 comment

At one time or another, every human being questions his or her existence. Are humans on earth to build parking garages and put on circuses? From the moment we are born, we are sentenced to a life of frustration, confined to fleshy shells and forced to try to find meaning and purpose in this world. In the 21st century, humans have discovered numerous ways to escape reality. There are movies, books, drugs, and even virtual games that allow a person to temporarily believe he is not who or what he really is. But there is one area of escapism which has not yet been achieved. With all of the useless technology and artificial creations people have toiled over in the history of civilization, no one has made it possible for a person to change species. Instead of focusing on economics and war, we should celebrate the beauty of existence. With a new plan called Project Mermaid, we will create the opportunity for a human to become a real mermaid for a week.

They say that the only way to understand a person is to walk a mile in their shoes. One could take that quite literally and find that it is still impossible to comprehend the inner workings of another’s thoughts and feelings. But with Project Mermaid, empathy will take on a new meaning. The idea, as described by Dr. Pycanka at the Brooklyn University of Aquatic Studies, is that “Anyone, male or female, who wants to be a mermaid, can do so by sitting on a rock in the sea at 3:15 in the afternoon on a Sunday, closing their eyes, and wishing fervently” (Hippocampe 12). Questions of overcrowding on rocks in the sea have been raised, but experts are confident in their plan to rely on the honor system — that is, if a person sees that a rock is already occupied, they will wait until next Sunday. Anyone who abuses the power by using violence or evil schemes will automatically be disqualified from Project Mermaid for three years.

The process of becoming a mermaid is somewhat abstract. But while it does depend primarily on mental concentration, it is unquestionably a physical transformation that researchers have confirmed to be flawless. Once the person on the rock has achieved “Akbathnecko”, the state of total preparedness for mermaid transformation, they will descend into the water of their own accord and promptly notice their legs being replaced by a tail. Tails vary, of course, by location and imagination. For example, in North America and most of Western Europe, one should expect a scaly tail of a cool hue. Water temperature is also a determining factor in the texture of the tail. The subject’s upper body will be magically stripped of clothing and replaced with appropriate seashell attire. They will automatically have the ability to see, hear, and breathe underwater, essentially being classified as an official mermaid.

The significance of Project Mermaid goes far beyond fulfilling childhood dreams. According to an expert on human life, Dr. Menselijk, this development will be “highly beneficial in allowing humans insight that will behoove their social and professional lives” (Meermin 364). When a man or woman becomes a mermaid for the first time, they will immediately notice that breathing water is an incredible sensation. The water does not fill the lungs; instead the respiratory system of a mermaid extracts only the particles of benogen (an aquatic element only found in mermaid blood) and pumps it through the veins. Experiencing this anomaly firsthand is one of the most effective ways to understand life under the sea. The effortless ability to swim like a fish is also a plus. All previous fears of drowning are immediately eliminated when participating in Project Mermaid.

The project, officially launching on May 17th, 2009, was tested by a lucky contest winner last week. Eighteen-year-old Anabelle Das, of Stockholm, Sweden, describes her experience to Mermaid Weekly as “a dream come true. The schools of fish were brighter than any photograph I’ve ever seen, and the jellyfish didn’t sting me because I was one of them. Best of all, my mind was not preoccupied by thoughts of school, sex, or work, because mermaids don’t have to worry about such trivial things.” And as for going to the bathroom? “[laughs] You’ll have to see for yourself” (Hippocampe 16). We certainly will.

The author's comments:
This is a satirical research paper.

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