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Chad Concelmo avatar 6:08 PM on 11.16.2007  (server time)
Why I love dolphins: An epic story of love and heartbreak

I still can’t remember how I let slip that I have an unhealthy obsession with dolphins. Was it in one of my earlier posts? Did I have a little too much liquid sunshine at one of the Destructoid get-togethers? Honestly, I have no idea. What I do know is that I have embraced the truth and made my love for these aquatic princes of the sea known in numerous stories and comments.

But where did this love come from? I think there is only a handful of people that know why I really love these majestic beasts as much as I do.

Well, now the truth must be told. I knew an explanation would come eventually, but the time finally feels right. I blame the emotions of the holidays.

Before reading you just have to promise me one thing:

You will not laugh in my face. :)

Now, with that being said, let the epic tale begin ...

*opening weathered old book*

Once upon a time there was a young lad by the name of Chad. He was a pleasant tyke with golden locks and eyes as blue as the sea.

When he was around the age of four his parents decided to take him to the beach for some frolicking and merriment. After many misadventures in the sand, Chad decided to walk towards the raging ocean, the waves crashing dramatically at his feet. As Chad’s bright blue eyes adjusted to the harsh, reflected sunlight, he spotted a large amount of splashing disrupting the perfect horizon. Being the brave youth he was, Chad moved closer to the water to check out what the commotion was all about.

To his surprise, a beautiful pod of dolphins were playing out in the vast sea. Like a perfectly choreographed ballet, the dolphins were dancing in and out of the cold water as if exerting no effort at all. The jumping, spinning, and diving were performed in perfect unison, creating a rare moment of beauty on the shores of the crowded beach. Chad immediately became transfixed by the glorious dance and moved even closer to the cascading waves.

With no warning, as if sent from the Gods themselves, a huge wave crashed down upon Chad and thrust his body into the sea. Being so young (and not wearing his Care Bear water wings), Chad could not fight the raging currents and was turned upside-down in the water over and over again. Praying for a moment to breathe, Chad had visions of the short life he had lived: rainbows, butterflies, and puppies circled through his mind. His sapphire eyes closed as the water began filling his small lungs.

Suddenly, Chad felt the suffocating water around him no more. He had been thrust on his back on the hot sand, coughing up water and the bits of seaweed that had invaded his mouth. Upon opening his eyes, Chad saw the familiar face of his mother and father staring down at him, a small group of people surrounding them from both sides.

As Chad stood up his eyes immediately fell back on the sea: the same sea that almost claimed his too short life. The dolphins were gone. They were nowhere in sight.

Chad’s father immediately picked up his boy and hugged him profusely. “I am so sorry, Chad, I am so sorry,” his father exclaimed. “You were only out of our sight for a minute.”

Chad’s mother joined in the embrace. “Chad, we love you. Don’t worry. You’re fine. Everything is going to be fine.”

But Chad wasn’t in a panic. In fact, he had already forgotten about almost drowning in the sea. He was just strangely obsessed with why the dolphins had disappeared at the exact moment he had been pulled into the water. Did they want to play? Did the dolphins hypnotize him and send the waves to claim his body? Even better: were they the ones that saved him?

Days and weeks later Chad presented this question to his family, determined to have them tell him the truth of what occurred.

“No, Chad, we already told you a million times. Your father pulled you out of the water. And, honestly, you were only in there a second.”
“No, Chad, the dolphins did not come to save you. You were just traumatized by the event.”
“Chad, we both love you ... but do you really think the dolphins wanted you to be their new king? Honestly, your imagination will get the best of you someday.”

Chad heard these comments over and over again, finally one day accepting that maybe it was his father (and not the dolphins) that rescued him from certain death.

Decades passed and Chad formed a strange love of the water, joining the swim team year after year and always taking as many trips to the beach as possible.

One day Chad decided to go to San Diego to visit a mythical and magical place called Sea World.

As Chad walked into this park of dreams he immediately noticed a large sign with a picture of a dolphin. “Dolphins?” Chad quietly thought to himself as he studied the sign more. Under the picture of the dolphin was an arrow pointing right towards a large blue tank.

Immediately, Chad raced to the tank to see a huge watery paradise surrounded by lush jungle foliage and seashell-shaped rocks. In the water, dancing and frolicking just like Chad had remembered on that fateful day, was a small pod of dolphins. Chad’s eyes lit up. He quickly looked around the glorious tank and realized that visitors could actually approach the end of the tank and put their hand in the same water that was home to the amazing creatures.

Without even thinking twice, Chad rushed to the edge of the tank, having to push himself through a giant pack of young children to accomplish this. Having never seen a dolphin up close his entire life, Chad began splashing in the water, hoping that one would swim up to greet him.

“That won’t work without a fish,” a little boy with glasses said to Chad as he continued to splash. “Me and all my friends have been trying to get one to come over for, like, 100 years. You need to buy a fish or something.”

Chad ignored the little boy and continued to splash, the know-it-all rolling his eyes in response to being shunned.

Suddenly, a dolphin slid gracefully out of the water, right under Chad’s hand. The little boy with the glasses jumped back, as did the entire group of children, startled by the surprise visitor. Chad couldn’t believe his eyes as the dolphin actually hopped up on its belly, the two meeting almost face to face. Although it sounded ridiculous, Chad thought to himself, “Does she remember me?”

With an audience of many awed children, Chad reached up and pet the dolphin on its smooth and slippery head. He even swore to himself he saw the dolphin smiling in response to his gentle, shivering touch.

And then, having no control over anything at that moment, Chad burst into tears. And not of the small, trickling variety. Giant streams of drops were erupting from Chad’s eyes, the emotions of the moment completely taking over his body and soul. Years and years of silently loving and obsessing over dolphins had come to a head.

But before he even had a chance to wipe away his shame with the sleeve of his polo shirt, the dolphin descended back under the water, leaving Chad standing all alone, his arm still outstretched. The enormous smile on his face slowly melted away as he realized there was a giant group of people staring at him. Beneath the hushed mocking and obvious pointing twenty seven year old Chad felt extremely embarrassed by his emotional outburst. But, honestly, he didn’t care. The experience was genuine and he wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.

As Chad walked away from the tank he looked back and nodded his head at his new dolphin friend. “I will return to see you another day, my faithful girl. I shall return another day.”

To this day, Chad has still not yet returned to see the dolphins, but that may soon change. Just recently, he received a message from a friend saying he could actually swim with the dolphins at Sea World for a small fee. Given what happened when Chad just got to pet one, swimming around with them may result in Chad’s untimely death from joy explosion, but he knows in his heart this is something he needs to do ... very, very soon.

While it may only be a myth, some longshoremen have told tales of strange whispers coming from below the harsh currents of the ocean. And although they can’t make out exactly what is being said, the words “Chad” and “come home” have been mentioned.

The end.

*slowly closing dust-covered book*

So, there you have it: the reason I am obsessed with dolphins. Now the next time you see me mention a dolphin you will know that I was saved from death by one when I was little and then able to call the exact same one to me years later using only the power of pure love. Simple as that. :)

What can I say? After such a humiliating experience, I have a soft spot for the little guys.

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