As you all know by now, Paul the octopus has passed away. While he was exalted with a hero’s status during his time on earth, I am forced to wonder, Did it make him happy?

Sure, Paul was revered among humankind for his ability to predict sports’ future, but among his peers he was just another octopus. Sea creatures are notoriously uninformed about human current events as they can’t watch TV and newspapers tend to dissolve.

Paul was not remembered as a success within his community. He was unable to finish the months of schooling that most octopi graduate from, and up until he moved into captivity, he spent the entire first year of his life (up until his mid30’s in human years) living in the rock pile beneath his mother’s home.

Paul’s move to captivity marked the end of a lazy life for an octopus. For a time, whenever the neighbors would inquire about Paul, his mother would make up lies about his huge success and fame in another ocean–If only she knew how true this ended up being to us.

So while we humans tend to get very wrapped up in ourselves and our culture, it’s important to look at things from other perspectives at times. I don’t believe Paul died happy, and that should be considered, as well.


UPDATE:

Octopus Community Outraged at Improper Burial

Sea Life Oberhausen unveiled a large tribute to Paul the Octopus, today, in the form of a 6ft monument. (You can read all about the monument in this NPR article.) The undersea world was thrilled at the thought behind such a tribute, however, sitting atop the structure is a golden urn containing Paul’s ashes.

It is a long-held tradition in the octopus community to “sea-lift” recently deceased octopodes. This tradition generally means that the octopus closest to the recently passed friend carry the body at close to the surface of the ocean as he or she is able and let the body drift until it is out of sight. While the octopus community is aware of the constraints of aquarium tanks, they are baffled by the decision to dispose of the body in such a barbaric manner, one that ends with the deceased being put on display for human on-lookers.

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