I am now the proud adopted father of an endangered Magellanic penguin. It’s name is Pike and it lives in the Falkland Islands. It was a Christmas gift from my friend Fiona.
In July 2000, I was up in England visiting her. Her parents and I were talking about traveling in Scotland – I had just been there and her parents were going to holiday there in a couple of weeks. At some point I said how surprised I was to find out there were penguins in the Hebrides and some of the other islands.
Fiona’s mother looked at me like a was crazy, “Penguins! Where’d you get that idea?”
“There’s a picture in my guidebook.” To defend my honor, I retrieved the book and showed her.
“That’s a puffin!”
“That’s a type of penguin, isn’t it?”
No it turns out, it’s not. Fiona and her mother found my confusion very funny. And for the last last year and a half, I’ve been reminded of my lapse by a steady stream of puffin postcards, penguin sculptures, and now a real live penguin.