At a bookstore, skipping to the last pages of a bestseller, with a concentrated frown on her face, my mother reads the ending before deciding whether or not to buy the book. “You can’t do that. You destroy the build up of a suspenseful storyline,” I protest.
What if you knew the ending of a World Cup soccer match? In a 1500 liters water tank in Oberhausen, a brown creature with eight long, slender arms, suction cups and three hearts is driving the world nuts. Paul, the two and a half year old octopus has been right about the results of six world cup soccer games. Yesterday, before Germany played Uruguay for the third place in the World Cup championship, the mollusk floated around the two flags with the feeding trays underneath for nine minutes, finally settling for the mussels on the German side. And as it turns out: Paul was right again. Experts in statistics are impressed, after the sixth game the probability was at 1/64. Even a renowned professor in probability theory is baffled: “This octopus contradicts everything I know, there is no way, someone can get this lucky!
But Octopus Paul has competition. In Singapore a colorful parrot has picked the winning card every time. So far. Just before the final game, the two animals are in disagreement. Spain is going to win, of this Paul is certain. But Mani, the feathered oracle, sees it differently: The Netherlands will be World Cup Champs. So far the visions of Oberhausen and Singapore have come true, tonight all bets are off: Only one of the two will win.
To kidnap a parrot would be easier, wrapping up Paul more difficult. Nevertheless, the winning animal has to come to Los Angeles. After the exciting and nerve-wrecking last season of the Lakers, having a psychic animal foresee the results of the basketball games might not be a bad idea. We hand over the winning trophy to Phil Jackson and concentrate on Kobe Bryant’s dribbling tactics and scoring.
© Colleen Yorke. All rights reserved. 2015