Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Leeches & Slugs

...Leeching a subject title off Wolfie...

This weekend, I heard someone on one of those sunday morning NPR programs say, if it wasn't for Bogie's freakout scene in African Queen,
leeches wouldn't have such a bad rap.

Maybe so, but you gotta love the Banana Slug.

Largest of all north american slugs, second largest slug in the world, the banana slug is always a welcome sight, on our redwood woodlands walks. One of my more funny embarrassing moments, was on a san mateo county coastal hike, from shore to ridgetop (west to east). Climbing the trail for a short while, we spied a fantastic specimum. It was a brilliant yellow and probably close to 6 inches in length. A great start to the trek. Moving onward and upward, another couple of hikers came around a bend, heading down the same trail. Of course, I exclaimed "watch for this one great banana slug, about 50 yards down from here!" They gave me this blank look. Barely even grunted. What's up with that? How could that be construed as me being a wise ass?

Well, it didn't take too long for us to figure out why the look. Another couple of yards up the trail, we entered...Banana Slug Central. Tens, hundreds, perhaps more. It was almost surreal. And funny. As David George Gordon says in his 'Field Guide to The Slug,' "To err is human; to slime, sublime."

The Banana Slug is the UC Santa Cruz mascot. It was even in the 'race' to become California's Official Mollusk, but the govenor squashed the slug plug. Maybe he was a Bogart fan....or anti-hermaphrodite?


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