Dear Penguins,

I would like to apologize on behalf of my species for making fun of you. Please understand that not all of my people view you in the ridiculous light in which you are portrayed on most TV specials and in most news articles. Contrary to what you may believe, many of my kind take you quite seriously. We have enormous respect for your flightless ancestry and your place in this world.

In the interest of addressing some of the gravest offenses to your sensibilities, I’d like to start by saying that we realize that you are not actually wearing tuxedos. We don’t quite understand the evolutionary purpose of your black-and-white color scheme, so we have simply said that you wear tuxedos to be funny. This is representative of the tendency on the part of Homo sapiens to make fun of anything we find to be different from ourselves.

Second, the polka music. We are aware that the video footage of your kind that is featured in our documentaries, nature specials, etc. is normally accompanied by polka music, or some other humorous soundtrack. We do in fact realize that this music is not playing all the time in Antarctica. (Likewise, we are also aware that polar-bear habitats do not feature naturally occurring tuba music.)

Additionally, we know that you don’t always slip on the ice. You see, the adults of my species feel that if we show your kind to be humorous and klutzy, our children will laugh and laugh and then will not want to kill you as much as they might otherwise desire to do so. This is why, when we show our video footage, we tend to choose the sections where you slip and fall on the ice. But secretly, we know that you are graceful creatures.

Last, the comparison to torpedoes while you are underwater. Though I can see the similarity, it goes without saying that to compare a group of peace-loving birds to instruments of war and destruction is appalling. If, in your documentaries, you were to compare my people to some sort of killing machine, there would be a worldwide outcry (despite the fact that the comparison would be apt).

One final note: we are sorry about the ice. We know it is melting. And while we do want to preserve your habitat so we can forever watch your amusing escapades, we have decided instead to slowly cook our world for self-serving purposes. We are truly sorry, penguins. The day will come when we will miss you dearly.

Tony Cross
San Francisco, CA