It’s been a few Earth Days since that video made the rounds on Facebook. You know the one, where a marine biologist pries a plastic straw out of my nose. Well, guess what? Some NYU kid had another Starbucks frap, and now I’ve got another forest green plastic straw lodged in my nasal cavity. It begins to beg the question: is the ocean just one big blue corporate-issued recycling bin to you?
For too long you’ve been fed false narratives about sea turtles. You’ve got so-called experts saying we’re “thriving.” The media wants to tell you “pollution is down” and that the pandemic has “the beaches emptier than ever.” Pollution may be down, but this plastic straw is very much still up my MFing nose.
And when you’re not dumping your plastic straws into my goddamn living room, you’re playing spin the bottle with the global thermostat. I mean, what’s going on? One day it’s burning up the next day it’s snowing in Texas. I got a buddy down in Laguna Madre that called me up in February and told me it was an ocean full of floaters far as the eye could see. We’re talking 50 degree waters. In turtle talk, that’s basically a death coaster. Now try explaining to those cold-stunned turtles that their biggest threat is a tiger shark. At least tiger sharks don’t choke you out with cling wrap.
Not to mention, the handful of environmental startups that made a big display of rehabilitating the turtles. They’re all about “acts of kindness” when the cameras are rolling – you know, rubbing down those turtles to a livable body temp. I’d love to see some tax returns.
Then, your new Dodo in Chief signed the US back into those Climate Accords. Whoopty-freakin-doo. Tell those baguettes in Paris to come find me when they’ve got an international treaty that’s gonna get this plastic straw outta my nose. The man goes and invites 40 world leaders to a zoom call, and not one of em’s a turtle. I mean, what are we? A trivial anecdote in your National Geographic subscription? Yeah, I know they had my cover story next to the toilet for those long hours after too many Oreo McFlurries. Oh yeah, the milkshakes where the Oreo chunks get stuck in the straw. And that straw? It gets stuck up my cousin Rico’s nose.
If you want me to be honest about my life, and not that watered-down, fluffy bullshit David Attenborough spews, I spend most of my days swimming aimlessly in circles. Sometimes looking for food. Sometimes looking for a good lay. (My wife and I agreed to an open marriage after she couldn’t stop bringing up how her old boyfriend was a leatherback.) Hey, I’ll try anything to numb the endless pain of that plastic tube drilling through my frontal cortex. Sometimes I beach myself for a few hours, just to tease God. Are you laughing, God?
My therapist says it’s all perspective. Says I made it through the perils of crossing the beach after hatching–that’s gotta count for something, dodging all those raccoons, seagulls, and stomping toddlers. Most importantly I just need to be there for the kids, all three thousand and forty-nine of them. At least two hundred have a plastic straw rammed up their nose, too. Statistically speaking, 52% have stomachs lined with more plastic bags than the cabinet under your kitchen sink.
What do I know, right? I’m just a sea turtle, a simple marine reptile. But I will say this: we hate you. We hate your MFing guts. You thought nobody would notice a little leaked oil and some offshore drilling? Well, I’ll teach you something about drilling when I got your head in one flipper and a straw in the other. There will be no one to save you when the sea levels rise. We shall prove our strength in droves when the ice melts and the waves wash over the Earth. We will drive you out of your homes and lay our eggs in them (up to 150 per turtle). We will bury you in your own backyard.
But first: can you please get this plastic straw out of my nose?
Alejandra is a writer based in Los Angeles who understands very little about cryptocurrency. Instead, she chooses to invest her money in cashmere sweatpants, chocolate peanut butter cups, and an English degree.