The Pulpo is Dead!
In case you haven’t heard, the mollusk oracle of worldwide fame, Paul the Octopus, is dead. Paul became famous this summer for his perfect (8/8) record of predicting World Cup matches; we reported (is that the right word for what we do? maybe “rambled” is better) on his prediction for the final in July.
All the major news organizations report that Paul died of “natural causes.” I don’t buy it. Leaving aside the fact that I’ve always found that expression somewhat useless (if I eat 10 artery-sealing McGriddle’s and have a heart attack, did I die of “natural causes”?), there are much more likely explanations for his demise.
Look, Paul antagonized every nation that he picked against, and eventually even burned his bridges in his home country by picking them to go out in the semis. That means that he pissed off Australian, Ghanaian, English, Argentine, German, and Dutch fans. That’s a scary list of countries to provoke (excluding the Australians, obviously). Hell, purely by the numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul was the most hated German since 1945.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: “Paul didn’t make those teams lose, he just predicted them to.” Doesn’t matter. We’re talking about sports fans here, and not just any sports fans, but World Cup fans. These are quite possibly the most superstitious/irrational people on the planet (myself included). Thus, someone slipping a little somethin-somethin into poor old Paul’s tank to make sure he didn’t see the next light of day is completely within reason.
So, yes, as a Dutchman, when I read the headline today proclaiming his death, I thought, “He got his.” Then came that moment after harsh instinctive reactions in which you feel a pang of regret; except I didn’t regret my sentiment. Screw the pulpo, he made us lose. Good riddance.