Today’s post is brought to you by the mildly insane Ian Dudley. Ian writes dark comedic science fiction (mostly) and is presumed to be armed and dangerous. You should never look him directly in the eye, as he sees that as a sign of aggression. He has taken to Team Alpaca rather more dearly than I had suspected he would. You can follow Ian on Twitter at twitter.com/ianmdudley or read his mad ramblings at http://ianmdudley.wordpress.com.
“And I for one welcome our new alpaca overlords.”
Kit recently begged me to write a piece about alpacas for her blog, and in particular their effectiveness as a landsquid deterrent. Kit was right to come crawling to me, for in addition to being widely recognized as a premiere Beethoven scholar, my name is also whispered with reverence within the alpaca scientific research community. This community is much larger than you think – chances are you unwittingly know at least two of us. We are legion.
I will start by saying this: the alpaca (and, if painstakingly trained, its bastard second cousin twice removed, the llama) is the ultimate landsquid deterrent. You put an alpaca up against a landsquid, and you’re having calamari for dinner. Heck, put an alpaca up against a dozen of the formerly-aquatic-now-terrestrial scourge, and the alpaca STILL wins. Why?
Because I believe knowledge is power, I will share the answer with you. Normally I’d direct you to my pay site (http://alpacacombatrevealedby.ianmdudley.com/) to see this information, but because it always pains me to see an intelligent woman like Kit grovel, I will tell you here, on her blog, for free.
The alpaca concedes the fight.
Yes, you read that correctly. The alpaca concedes the fight.
It then waits for the triumphant landsquid to turn its back, and at this moment, and only this moment, the alpaca strikes.
Some call this behavior cowardly. I call it brilliant. The wily alpaca defeats many a foe, both superior and inferior, through the well-honed application of backstabbing (literally – alpacas are famous for their knife play).
Of course, it hardly needs saying that the landsquid falls into the latter, inferior opponent category. And not just because it is a spineless invertebrate (and no, that is NOT redundant). Landsquid also lack blunt-trauma-inducing hooves (sneak up on enough alpacas like I have and you’ll learn first hand – those hooves, swiftly presented, hurt), and are incapable of growing beards (you can’t look intimidating without a goatee).
More specifically in the case of a match-up with an alpaca, their suckers won’t attach to fur-covered skin. I’ve watched many an alpaca / landsquid cage match, and this sucker problem invariably proves a fatal flaw for the landsquid. It also proves expensive for the fool who bets against the alpaca.
But the biggest disadvantage the landsquid has is a debilitating lack of guile. This not only diminishes the effectiveness of the landsquid’s melee moves, but also blinds it to the possibility it is being scammed.
I’ve seen an alpaca lull a pack of wolves into a false sense of security by pretending to be a pygmy llama – less terrifying than an alpaca, but not so terrifying that the wolves turned tail and run. When the rest of the alpaca’s herd arrived on the scene, there was a brief huddle, and then they all began to “baa” like sheep. The hungry wolves, anticipating an easy meal, were very surprised when those ‘sheep’ suddenly turned on them, mashing them with their hooves and then tearing them limb from limb with those famous oversize alpaca teeth.
I’ve also witnessed alpacas masquerading as a poodle, a pony, and a hairless cat (I have no idea how that one shaved itself), all to confuse and ultimately disadvantage the opponents they faced. This is an ingenious evolutionary development, and I fear Humankind should pay more attention to the species lest we fall victim to the same subterfuge. We’ve already missed one opportunity.
When William Goldman translated S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride, he did more than edit out the ‘boring’ parts. He changed one of the antagonists, and in so doing, removed a vital warning Morgenstern was stealthily trying to pass down to future generations. In the original version, there was no Sicilian (this was an abominable invention of Goldman, who I suspect serves the alpaca cause). Morgenstern’s book contained the Alpacan, who famously taunts Westley with the line:
“Never go up against an alpaca when death is on the line!”
We would all do well to remember that.