The Hippo Line

Scandinavian nations are quite distinct from the rest of Europe—and when it comes to the subject of sex, their taboos are very different from what you’d see in the US or Britain. In 2020, the Danish national broadcaster came up with a novel idea—a cartoon show targeting kids between the ages of four and eight predicated on a simple, if improbable, concept: a middle-aged man with a gigantic shlong.

How long a shlong? The pundits are uncertain. Wikipedia refers dozens of meters, whereas a US sports site rates it at about twenty feet—a paltry six meters.

However long John’s dong is, it can certainly stop the traffic!

The hero is John Dillermand, literally ‘John Willyman’, who invariably appears dressed in a retro striped swimsuit—the penile protruberance is a (substantial) extension of his red and white bathing costume.

In the Belgian Spirou cartoon books—a fabulous read for any child, and certainly one of my favorites—the Marsupilami has a similar appendage, although in his case it is a prehensile tail, rather than a prehensile penis.

Willy man’s dong is a lot more versatile because human activities are so varied—you can variously see him trying to light barbecues (and burning his glans, which you really don’t want to encourage kids to try at home), hanging from his whanger while suspended in mid-air by helium balloons, flogging a lion, walking dogs, and using said shlong as a helicopter propeller—shaft and blades, if you excuse the pun.

After hearing about all this performance and reading about the controversy the cartoon generated, I had to see the show for myself. YouTube has only snippets, mostly with voice-overs by amused, bemused, or outraged commentators—during the lion-whipping scene one guy says that “his diller is taming the pussy.”

As always, in an effort to provide my readers with the fullest possible experience, I squirreled out the link from the Danish broadcaster; I can only hook you directly to the first episode, but this cartoon link gets you on the peewee page, and after you accept cookies—in this case Danish pastries, which may explain why the West has such an obesity problem—the cartoons of your choice may be viewed.

This is probably not the best idea the Danes have ever had—it ranks up there with the Muhammad cartoon episode—a rather different kind of cartoon.

Of course, bad choices are not a Danish exclusive—in the 1980s, no doubt after an enthusiastic encounter with a few lines of coke, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar decided to install a zoo on his property, the infamous Hacienda Nápoles.

Among the various animals Escobar selected were four hippos. An apocryphal—but eminently credible—tale is that dried hippo poop was excellent at concealing the smell of cocaine. After the drug lord was killed in 1993, there was a protracted legal wrangle between his family and the government as to the ownership of the hacienda.

In 2006, the government finally won, and management of the property was given to the municipality of Puerto Triunfo. No one could afford the upkeep, and most of the animals in the zoo were given away.

The hippo is the most dangerous creature in the bush—it kills more humans in Africa than any other animal—perhaps for that reason, allied to the difficulty in dealing with a three-tonne creature, the cocaine hippos were given a pass and either made their escape, or most probably, were released into the wild.

Narcohippos basking on the Rio Magdalena.

Unfortunately, Escobar sourced his hippos much as he did his women—three females to one male. The male was called Pepe, and I suspect he was good friends with John Dillermand—at present, the hippo population numbers around one hundred, of which a couple of dozen still reside on the grounds of the hacienda.

The animals adapted perfectly to the lakes and waterways around the Rio Magdalena and have become a tourist attraction. They also ram canoes, scare the shit out of local fishermen and are displacing local species in the area.

Since the Magdalena River is the largest in Colombia—almost one thousand miles long—there is serious concern that the hippos will spread throughout the nation. A sterilization program was put in place to stop aquatic pachyderm proliferation.

Sterilizing a hippo is not a job for the faint-hearted—apart from the challenge of trapping and sedating a six-and-a-half-thousand-pound animal, it takes three hours just to cut through the hippo’s skin, blubber, and muscle before you get to the spot.

The vets recognize this will not be an easy job—the hippo population is expected to quadruple in the next decade and, before Malthus gets his way, there may well be thousands of cocahippos on the loose.

As a yardstick, Colombia managed to sterilize one (!) female in 2019. Over the period between 2011 and 2019, while the cocaine hippos rutted enthusiastically, the nation achieved a record sterilization of four males and two females—two-thirds of a hippo per year.

And you thought vaccination was tough…

The India Road, Atmos Fear, Clear Eyes, and Folk Tales For Future Dreamers. QR links for smartphones and tablets.

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