There was a nice Jewish Kiwi teuthologist (squid expert) named Dr. O’Sheastein who was having all kinds of trouble trying to film a live Architeuthis. He had exhausted all his own ideas, so he decided to get some second opinions from his colleagues.
First, Dr. O’Sheastein went to his friend and fellow TORNO contributor Dr. Roperman, a wise old teuthologist who had been on many exciting voyages in his day. Dr. O’ told his problem to his friend, and Dr. Roperman suggested going out in his trawler and lowering a trap baited with a lox-and-cream-cheese sandwich.
“You really think that’ll work?” asked Dr. O’. Dr. Roperman shrugged and replied, “It couldn’t hurt.”
Well, poor Dr. O’ sat out there for hours and hours waiting for an Archi (the pet name teuthologists give to Architeuthiseses – or should that be Architeuthisii?) to take the sandwich, but nothing happened. So he decided to speak with another colleague, Dr. Ellsky. Dr. Ellsky was a popular author and artist, and Dr. O’ thought he might have some unique idea to share.
“Lox, schmox,” sniffed Dr. Ellsky — “here, try this.” He sketched a portrait of a female Archi (the pet name teutho – oops, I’ve already explained that) , and advised Dr. O’ to go down in a bathysphere and tape the picture to the vessel’s window, so a male Archi might be tricked into approaching.
Once again, the hapless Dr. O’ had no luck. He stayed down there until his lungs nearly exploded, but there was not a single Architeuthis, male or female, in sight.
Having run out of options, O’Sheastein concluded that there was only one thing left to do — consult his Rabbi. And that’s what he did.
Rabbi Xenawitz was an elderly Chassid with a long beard and eyes that held the wisdom of the ages. When Dr. O’ explained his problem, Rabbi Xenawitz went into deep meditation, stroking his beard and humming an old Yiddish tune. Finally the Rabbi emerged from his trance, lifted a finger in the air, and proclaimed:
“My son, you must remove the roof of your house!”
“Remove the WHAT?” said O’Sheastein. It sounded ridiculous, but the Rabbi went on. “You must remove the roof of your house, float it out to sea, and sit on it holding an ordinary fishing line, with an ordinary fishing lure shaped like a small squid.”
At this point, Dr. O’ was willing to try anything, and even though he thought the venerable sage (not to be confused with the Venerable Bede) had flipped his yarmulke, he decided to give it a go.
And so O’Sheastein did exactly as Rabbi Xenawitz had advised. He hired construction workers to remove the roof of his house and fashion it into a crude raft. He purchased an ordinary fishing line, and an ordinary fishing lure that was shaped like a small squid. Tying the lure to the line, he sat down on the roof, gave the signal, and was pushed out to sea by the construction workers.
Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, after less than half an hour a majestic 20-meter Architeuthis (Archi is the GIANT squid) swam obediently up to Dr. O’Sheastein’s floating roof, examined the fishing lure, and glided around the vessel cooperatively while the teuthologist made a beautiful videotape of the creature in action.
Well, as you may have guessed, Dr. O’Sheastein’s documentary was shown worldwide, he received millions of dollars in grants, and eventually he was given the Nobel Prize in Marine Biology.
When he stepped up to the podium at the Nobel ceremonies, people asked him how he ever got the elusive Architeuthis to approach him so fearlessly.
“It wasn’t me,” he said, blushing. “It was the Squid-lure on the Roof!”