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Nina In New York: Imagination Is For Suckers - NOAA Claims Mermaids Don't Exist

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.

By Nina Pajak

First, the CDC makes an official statement assuring people of the non-existence of zombies and the utter lack of any possibility that a so-called zombie apocalypse could ever break out. Phew.

Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has come out and declared that mermaids—or "aquatic humanoids" as they term them—are pure fiction. As stated in their post on the subject, "No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found."

Well. Of all the disappointments.

NOAA, do you know just how many times my friends and I collectively watched Disney's The Little Mermaidbetween 1989 and 1991? Do you have any idea how many hours we spent—evidently wasted—practicing our mermaid splashes and graceful, aquatic humanoid dives in the pool to determine who was worthy of playing the part of Ariel and who had to be relegated to being the sidekick fish? Of course, the game never progressed beyond the competition/casting stage, for obvious reasons. There cannot be four Ariels and zero Flounders. There just can't.

Keeley Belva, a spokeswoman for the NOAA's National Ocean Service explained the post to thusly: "As we had gotten a couple questions about mermaids, we thought this would be a fun way to talk about it and to have information up about mermaids in different cultures and to draw people into our website and learn more about what NOAA and the National Ocean Service does."

I suppose for a government-run agency of scientists, it is fun to suck all the possibility and magic out of a romantic concept which has spawned centuries of books and films which have excited and delighted children and adults of all ages. It would not be fun for them to have played along in any way with the (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) notion of mermaids and mermen singing and dancing in majestic sand-cities deep beneath the sea. It's way more fun to give a humorless and unnecessary official governmental disavowal of a mysterious and mythical creature. Thank you! Ha ha. What fun.

Next up, I suspect that the US Department of Agriculture will finally confirm that there is no such thing as a unicorn, and NORAD is going to give up the ghost and make sure that everyone knows they're not really tracking Santa Claus using sophisticated aerospace technology. Dummy.

And then the CIA or the FBI or whomever can issue a statement that there is no such thing as vampires or werewolves, so give it a rest already alright?

Wait, actually, could they? I'll be honest, I'd sleep a whole lot easier if they did. The whole thing would smack of suspiciously overblown protestations and would make me think there's an underground prison camp somewhere in Washington D.C. housing entire families of demon-humanoids, but I don't care. I want to believe the lie.


Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I'm always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

The Nina In New York Archives:

Is Your iPhone Making You iDumb?

The Fourth of July

From Joey Potter To Mrs. Cruise, The Roles Of A Lifetime

iGot One.

Finally, A Purpose For Cats On The Internet

Finally, Traveling In Style

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