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Song Parodies -> "Pelagic"

Original Song Title:


Original Performer:

John Lennon

Parody Song Title:


Parody Written by:

Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

Pelagic: all sea turtles
The sharks, and tuna, too
The world, its sights to show them
Their "pond": the ocean blue
Confined not to small waters
Swimming far away [1]

They swim to other countries
Cruise long, a month or two
Or take a snooze or lie down
A nurse? I've lain with you! [2]
Imagine all these creatures
Captured? *Please* release....

This is not some TV dreamer
Flipper's not the only one
For brief times, I have joined them
Ocean's world, what thrill and fun!

At times, it's been obsession
Stay with them if I can
(Sharks: night, not day, they hunger)
A bond twixt them and man
Imagine me and Tommy
Feeding off the reef [3]

You may think I'm a wacko
But I've petted sharks, not run
I hope some day, we won't kill them
'Cause no harm, to us they've done!

[1] Thousands of miles, or in some cases, across entire oceans.

[2] Turtles can easily hold their breath for several hours when at rest, and so find a sheltered place underwater to take a nap, though they'll awaken and scurry from rude, insensitive divers.

Contrary to popular belief, not all sharks need to keep moving to breathe. Nurse sharks, in particular, tired from a night of hunting, will rest in crevices, under reef ledges, or just on the sand bottom, during the day. They can be approached very closely, if slowly and non-threateningly by a calm diver (see [3] for Tommy "sleeping with a nurse".) TT has seen as many as six nurse sharks resting nestled together in a small, round depression in the coral floor, one of them being much larger than the others -- mother and family? A slow, gentle fly-by did not faze them.

*Perfectly OK* to *SKIP* the long story - no offense taken.

The author is a very experienced scuba diver and snorkeler who passed far beyond the noob stage of "swim as fast and far as you can" (missing 90% of the good stuff hiding in the nicks and crevices), and evolved to "becoming part of their world", being very still, approaching slowly and calmly, or better yet -- let them approach you.

Early in that stage, at a buoy anchored in 6000' (1830m) of water off of the Bahamas, he hand-fed a large school of 3-4' (1m) Silky sharks, petting their silky skins as they went by. No further than petting on that first date, but he still has all of his fingers.

At the more evolved "strip club" stage (Look, but don't touch), he saw a nurse shark sleeping or resting on the sand, slowly lowered himself in a horizontal position to the sand parallel and to the side of the shark (because frontal and to the rear are threatening to any animal, humans included), within its vision for its comfort; close, but not too close. We "slept together" for a while, but again, since it was our first date, there was no sex.

Closer encounters are possible on snorkel, without the strange-looking apparatus, unfamiliar noises, and bubbles produced by SCUBA. Snorkeling in about 6-8' (2m) of water off Little Cayman Island, a nurse shark was cruising slowly. We stayed very still and breathed slowly and calmly. I took my far-less-experienced companion's hand, partly in affection, but mostly so that she wouldn't unthinkingly splash or wave or invite a bite. The shark came within two feet (convert that yourself) of us, looked us over, said, "Hi", and went about its way.

Coming into shore from that dive, in a single metre of water (3'), a stingray was busy combing the bottom for lunch. A little murky that shallow, and hard to get my companion's attention while still "acting invisible". Successful, though, and as it swam toward me, I opened my legs enough for it to go right through. Yes, I have a witness -- it did.

Back to SCUBA, in deeper water, about 30-40'/10m, above the sand flats, watching another stingray similarly combing the sand with its powerful Linda-Lovelace-type mouth, sucking up small crustaceans hiding in the sand. It had a "jack" (fish a foot or two long) at each shoulder, looking downward at a 45-degree angle, waiting to grab up any scraps left from the ray's powerful sucker. OK, time to act like a jack. (Please don't fill in the rest of that word!) Diver and ray are at about 90-degree angle to each other, on converging paths. Diver lowers to same 45-degree nose-down angle as the jacks, slowly descends to the bottom, and cruises along it, mimicking the ray's behavior, "accidentally" letting our paths come together. In the presence of familiar behavior and the absence of threatening actions or postures, the ray ignores the diver and continues. Diver gently changes course at moment of convergence and takes position over ray's right shoulder, a couple of inches above it. (sorry about that, Jack!). Ray stops for a moment, assessing the situation, eyeballing (literally) the newcomer. Makes a tentative lift and wave of its stinging tail. Brave diver shows no fear, appears to take no cognizance (the jacks wouldn't have worried about an attack from the ray, right?), and appears to be awaiting the resumption of the hunt and the munching of resultant scraps.

Ray shrugs its shoulders (figuratively, not literally), says, "What the heck" (this was before "WTF" had reached from the Internet to the fishing net), and resumes hunting along the sand, with a 1-foot fish on its left shoulder and a "somewhat" larger "fish" on its right. This continued for several minutes, and might have continued until the diver ran low on air, had there not suddenly been a sharp bump from the diver's right and a blinding flash of light. Some idiot with a camera sent the ray off into oblivion. I could have strangled her under water.

(Last and eponymous story:)

Back on snorkel with witness -- uh, companion. 12-15' deep. Smallish green sea turtle is doing its feeding thing, taking a breath, diving down to the reef below, scraping algae off it (yum!), surfacing for a quick breath, back down. OK, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.... time to do as the turtles do. Author takes a deep breath (companion stays on surface, lacking the author's former lung power despite having a nice set of "lungs"), and dives down at the same angle and course, parallel to the turtle (see "sleeping with shark" for "parallel", and please keep in mind that most creatures other than humans have their eyes looking more to the side than our straight-ahead). Author reaches reef, pretends to skim the coral for algae, doesn't look at turtle at first (non-threatening), runs out of air way before turtle, resurfaces, few quick breaths, re-descends, same parallel course, perhaps this time a slight, casual glance at my "fellow" feeder.

Diver manages to stay down this time until turtle needs air. Per [2], they can sleep for hours on one breath, but, like us, high activity shortens this time -- typically, they go down about 4 to 5 min. at a time for active feeding, which leaves them a huge safety margin, so diver has to make only two trips to turtle's one. We ascend in unison, in parallel formation. Diver thinks to extend "foreflippers" like his friend, versus the intuitive streamlined position of arms at sides. Allows paths to merge ever so gradually, and, breaking own rule (see "strip club" above) as well as the marine sanctuary's, allows the tiniest "accidental" touch between finger and flipper. We break the surface together, exhale together, inhale together, and back down.

One more cycle: one trip for turtle, two for diver. By now, turtle is looking at diver occasionally, and allowing much closer parallel feeding paths. By now, companion is getting cold, tired, and probably bored, being stuck on the surface by breath-holding capacity and some ear trouble. At the next joint surfacing, I look at my newfound friend, start off towards the boat, look back, find him (her? *very* difficult to tell!) looking at me almost sadly, as if to say, "We just became friends. Why are you leaving already?" ... it broke my heart to leave, like I was leaving a loved one forever, but one whom I'd never forget.

At the end of the vacation, companion presents me with a little Beanie Turtle from the gift shop in commemoration of the incident. He was immediately named "Tommy".

And thus was born an Internet nick, a comedic persona, my avatar on inthe00s, and the website linked by clicking on the author's copyright notice (not the email Captcha), where many more pics of Tommy can be found, as well as some other goodies. Thanks for reading.

© 2009 Tommy Turtle. All rights reserved. E-mail:

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Voting Results

Pacing: 5.0
How Funny: 5.0
Overall Rating: 5.0

Total Votes: 8

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   0
 3   0
 4   0
 5   8

User Comments

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Matthias - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
Back to your turtle roots, I really liked this one because nobody does "Imagine" with something other than "Imagine" as the title... This was really creative!
Fiddlegirl - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
Beautiful pictures you paint with your songs and stories, Mr. Turtle!
AFW - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
I gotta' shell ya' certainly can Imagine..
blackjack21 - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
Very descriptive and very educational. Hm? Oh, the parody or the long story? Both, of course. ;-)
Mark Scotti - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
I "imagined" I'm on The Discovery Channel!! Great one, TT!
LittleCupCakes - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
Sir, this it TortugaEsque ! ! ~ El ToroMayor~
TJC - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
Wow... a terr'abyte o' terrapin! I echo FG's sentiments ('twas touching at times) and agree with Mark's concept--perhaps hosted by (ahem) Marlin Perkins...
Interesting and swimformative as well... hate to admit I had to look up 'pelagic' (Rubric... no... paregoric... no... ahhhh 'Pelagic'... here it is... hey! Yer describing me to a T[JC]... shallow!)
Christie Marie M - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
A wonderful parody straight from the pelagic zone! Well actually, between mesopelagic and the bathypelagic, am I right? I also wondered why some sharks are considered "nurse sharks". Do they treat the injured marine life (fish, sharks, octopus, jellyfish, stingrays, etc.)? You got a lot of courage petting sharks, since they're your close friends. I wouldn't know because I never had an encounter with sharks my whole life. I read the whole info on Tommy's Nick and found it knowledgeable. 5's!
Andy Primus - July 29, 2009 - Report this comment
Very interesting - as was the tome that came after
Tommy Turtle - July 30, 2009 - Report this comment
Matthias: You've set me up so well, nobody will believe it wasn't prearranged, but as far as doing "Imagine" with a different title, check out Thursday's (today's) post! :D... thanks for v, c,. and Thurs. setup!

Fiddlegirl: TUVM, Ms. Girl!

AFW: Thanks.... just to be sure, you know none of the above was imagined, right? Thanks for read/v/c.

blackjack21: Thanks very much! Hm? Oh, the vote or the comment? Both, of course. ;-)

Mark Scotti: It's about the best thing on TV sometimes, isn't it? Thanks for v/c, Mark!

LittleCupCakes: Interesting mixture of Spanish and French in that adjective! ... So TT is now the Biggest Bull, huh? :D ... thanks for v/c, LCC.

TJC: Naah, I'd describe you more as demersal -- a bottom-feeder, esp. re some of your puns :D .... hope ya didn't have to hit the paregoric too hard after reading this rubric, and if you think a terabyte is a long read, just wait for the coming PETAbyte -- and ya better not be eating a hamburger when it arrives! ;-) .... "Marlin Perkins", hmmph! You made that pun on porpoise! ... btw, do you know the dif 'tween a piano and a fish?

You can't tuna fish. ... seriously, thanks for v/c!

Christie Marie M: Umm, I think it's because you can nurse at their bosoms :-) .... ok, seriously, AFAIK, it's because viewed head-on, the somewhat angular shape of their heads resembles those angles caps that nurses wear, or at least, used to wear. No actual medical care provided, but Congress plans to include that in the new health care plan....

Actually, referring more to the epipelagic zone, where the sun shines:

"From the surface (MSL) down to around 200 m (656 ft).....The illuminated surface zone where there is enough light for photosynthesis. Due to this, plants and animals are largely concentrated in this zone. Nearly all primary production in the ocean occurs here. This layer is the domain of fish such as tuna, many sharks, dolphin fish, and jellyfish. This zone is also known as the surface zone." ... The second meaning, which is also used in this song, is that "pelagic" creatures roam the open seas, as opposed to remaining close to shore or in inland waters. ... Thanks very much for reading, researching, voting, and the very kind and extensive comment! Andy Primus: Thank you for the comment -- and for reading.

ALL: Since this is a parody site, I held no expectation that those who read the parody would also read the non-fiction short story that followed. Many thanks to all of those who indulged the writer. :D
alvin - July 30, 2009 - Report this comment
glad ya came out of your shell
Tommy Turtle - July 31, 2009 - Report this comment
alvin: thanks -- missed ya this week -- hope everything is OK with ya.
Peregrin - August 18, 2012 - Report this comment
Nice parody and explanatory 'note' LOL :)
Tommy Turtle @ Peregrin - August 19, 2012 - Report this comment
Thanks ... and at least TT *explained* his nick to Those Who Wanted To Know, unlike a certain duo who shall remain (nick)nameless. ;) ;) ;)
Meriadoc - August 21, 2012 - Report this comment the end of that story I was getting teary-eyed. Time for bed. :)
Tommy Turtle @ Meriadoc - August 21, 2012 - Report this comment
Whew! -- thought that was headed for "tired-eyed"! ;)

Glad you enjoyed a bedtime story, Merry -- many have said that TT's strongest skill is making people sleepy. Quite the compliment! (Seriously: Thanks. )

btw, existing link to TT website is obsolete, as geocities closed down some years ago. Can't even think of asking ChuckyG to change several hundred parodies to reflect that. New site, not that anyone would be interested, is

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