Photo: Seth de Roulet.
It isn’t just a weather phenomena. It’s a social one, too — you could probably thank Chris Farley for that. (Thanks Chris!) Anyway, it’s socially phenomenal because everybody knows that El Niño is a thing, but very few people outside the meteorological community know what that thing actually is. I thought Taylor Paul did a pretty good job at explaining it in a post here. But apparently, I thought wrong.
Over the weekend, a yellow-bellied sea snake washed up on the beach in Oxnard, California. Aside from having a penis name, yellow-bellied sea snakes are known for living in warm Pacific waters and having lots of venom. Like, enough to kill you — although they aren’t typically aggressive and it is highly rare for them to bite a human.
Still, a yellow-bellied sea snake. Slithering around Silver Strand. The furthest north a YBSS has ever been reported, and there’s likely more swimming around as we speak. Whose to blame here? El Niño.
And suddenly, I don’t know how I feel about El Niño.
At first everybody was all rah rah rah, you’re going to get so barreled, best winter ever bro. Then all those weird red crustaceans washed up on the beach. Hammerheads started swimming up and down the coast like it’s nobody’s business. And now yellow-bellied penis snakes? What is this? What’s next? Am I going to get eaten by a fucking blue whale, have a brief moment of fame on ABC and NBC and BBC as a pixelated Facebook photo of my smiling deadman’s face flashes on the screen while some biologist guy in a polo explains, “Hurr durrr well El Niño brings the whales close because the water is warm off Peru…”
And by the way, I still haven’t gotten barreled.
The bottom line is that El Niño needs to get its shit together. This is my first winter experiencing it as a Californian and so far, so bad. I surfed in boardshorts over the weekend and that was nice, you know, for it almost being November. But until the waves start showing up, I’d rather just wear a wetsuit and not deal with all this weird shit. Seems like that’d be more protection against a yellow penis belly snake anyway. —Brendan Buckley