In honor of my children's award winning father (Best Dad Ever nine consecutive years), I share with you the story of Marcus the Penguin, as told by the old man himself:
Marcus the penguin lived in the frigid arctic region, near the North Pole.
He felt terribly unhappy there on the tundra. The snow, the ice and the chilly feeling, even in summer, grew tiresome. On top of that, Marcus had always been cold natured.
One day, after years of envying migratory birds, he gathered his courage, said good-bye to his family and waddled away, headed south to palm trees and sandy beaches.
Two days later, when he had traveled farther from home than ever before, he turned and waved to his parents, again.
That's when he realized he needed a faster mode of transportation.
He would have hopped a jet, but penguins can't fly.
Hence, at the first frozen stretch of highway, he decided to hitch-hike. In an area sparsely traveled, it's difficult to get a lift; especially for a penguin without thumbs.
So he borrowed a motorcycle from a guy selling refrigerators to Eskimos. Humming the tune Freebird, he hit the throttle and savored the adrenalin rush, which helped him overcome the awkward, overdressed feeling one gets when riding a motorcycle in a tuxedo. Unfortunately, the motorcycle shot out from under Marcus and sped down the straights without him.
Marcus decided to go south the old fashioned way. He caught an ice flow and hoped for a strong Pacific current; not glamorous, but effective.
Before long, he ran into a cruise liner headed for southern California. Finally, his ship had come in. He cocktailed all the way to La Jolla beach, where he swam ashore and attempted to blend with the sea lions basking in the sun.
But the sea lions barked at him unmercifully, and he had to move on. He did, however, pause to ponder why sea lions bark. But his preoccupation with animal noises abruptly ended when his tender feet began to burn on the hot sand. And Marcus realized he stuck out like a sore penguin.
On the crowded streets of La Jolla people tripped over him, stepped on his feet, bumped his flippers and yelled obscenities like, "Hey, someone call the San Diego Zoo."
While Marcus wandered, looking for shelter, he edged into a surf shop, and came face to face with the scariest Great White Shark he had ever seen . . . on a surfboard.
"Cool. No, hot," thought Marcus.
Behind that board he saw another, with a Killer Whale, that brought tears to his eyes. It reminded him of home.
Then he saw the granddaddy master: A seafoam-green board with an orange starfish sprawled across it. He coughed up a few mackerel and headed for the beach.
Turns out that short, stumpy legs and flightless wings are perfect for hanging two. He joined the pro tour, an agent signed him, and he negotiated fabulous endorsement contracts.
Marcus, nevertheless, looked a lot like a seal when paddling his board out beyond the breakers. One day, a tiger shark gurgled out of the blue and snatched him off the surfing circuit. Lying on the beach waiting for paramedics, Marcus couldn't help thinking that, like the sea lions, the tiger shark didn't make the expected sound.
And the tiger shark swam away with a weird aftertaste in his mouth.
Kids, remember, there's a lion's share of trouble in this world of sharks. Things aren't always what they seem.
Sweet Dreams. Daddy loves you.
Here's to winning them with words. Happy Fathers Day!