Emperor Penguins will stay with the same mate for the duration of their lives. Each year the female penguin transfers her egg to her mate for an incubation period that lasts for sixty-four days. While the female heads to the sea to forage, the male keeps the single egg balanced on the tops of its feet and off the pack ice. When the female returns to the colony, she picks up the distinctive “call” of her mate, and they then share in taking care of their chick, until it fledges before the following breeding season. For adult penguins this cycle repeats, and repeats, and repeats… and repeats.
PAIGE: Hey, where the hell are you going? It’s almost time for me to pass our egg over to you!
MILTON: Great! I have to go the john.
PAIGE: Now? Now you have to go to the john?
MILTON: Yeah, easy for you! You’ll be off swimming with your girl friends in the pristine open ocean… stuffing yourself on squid and such… having a grand ‘ol time. Yeah… me? I have to stand up in sub-zero temperatures, impossible winds, in the dark, next to 150 other guys in the “huddle” for sixty-four straight days. Oh… did I mention: no bathroom breaks! You better believe I’m going! Last year Bartlett couldn’t hold it in!
PAIGE: Couldn’t hold it in?
MILTON: Whatta foul smelling mess!! And when the huddle moved around we all had to step in it! Keeping in mind that we have to balance that damn egg on our feet… oh, and did I mention that it was in the dark? And what does Crawford say? Him with that phony British accent of his, “I say, this is dreadful, a chap should take better care of his physical needs.”
MILTON: Well nothing! I’m going to the john. Where’s my copy of Sports Illustrated? I might be a while.
PAIGE: The swim suit issue?
MILTON: No one likes a smart ass Paige. You know… I hate to say it… but we have to be the laughing stock of the animal kingdom! Sixty-four days standing up in the freezing cold… in the dark with an egg on your feet… and they call us Emperor Penguins! I hear there are other penguins… happy penguins, called Galactic Ruler Penguins… they bask in tropical waters, the guys wear Bermuda shorts and sport shirts with small embroidered alligators and they sip mai tai’s, read the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue, and watch the sun setting over emerald lagoons. That’s for me! A Galactic Ruler Penguin!
PAIGE: OK Mr. Galactic Ruler Penguin… I don’t hear anyone else complaining. Not Bartlett, not Crawford… NO ONE! Just you Milton! When it comes to grousing and griping you take the gold medal. Milton: The Galactic Gripe King!
MILTON: Oh you’re asking for it Paige! Boom, zoom to the moon! Remind me to get the pages of this SI laminated. Oh, and one more thing: Sixty-four days Paige. SIXTY-FOUR DAYS… that’s it! On day sixty-five and you’re not here… I’m stepping on the egg!
PAIGE: Stop dragging your feet Milton, it’s time for me to give you our egg. And don’t even think about stepping on our egg… unless you never want to see your sacred issue of Sports Illustrated ever again!