Sea Turtle in “Straw-Up-Nose” video breaks silence
Pollution victim or Party animal?
Originally Published: July 18, 2018.
The announcement by Starbucks that they will be banning plastic straws starting in 2019 is the most concrete response yet to a problem that came to most people’s attention through a video released earlier this year. The video, a graphic and disturbing view of a sea turtle having a 10-inch plastic straw extracted from its nostril, quickly went viral upon release and alerted the world to the problem of disposable plastic straws and the danger the non-biodegradable items can pose to ocean wildlife. It caused concerned citizens to pressure restaurants into banning straws if they can’t find an environmentally friendly alternative.
The problems caused by plastic waste in our oceans is very real, but ST has learned that the back story to the video that focused public awareness on the issue isn’t quite as it seems.
The new knowledge was provided when the turtle appearing in the video spoke to ST after refusing all requests for interviews from other news organizations since the video’s initial release. It was during this chat, after thanking researcher Nathan Robinson for performing the strawectomy and making it clear that he was grateful for all the support that the video had created, the amphibian sheepishly admitted that the painful surgery was necessary because of a foolish episode of teenage hijinx gone awry.
The member of the species properly known as the olive ridley sea turtle, who would only provide ST with his first name, Gordon, said that the roots of the incident go back to a Friday evening spent with a friend.
“I was just hangin’ out with my friend Bitty, you know, just munching on some jellyfish and tunicates– we might have had some bryozoans, too, I forget. Anyway, it was like what anybody would do. So then, this plastic straw floats by. Like we see these things all the time now, mixed in with all the other human garbage. But for some reason, this time Bitty happens to say, ‘Hey Gordo, why don’t you see if you can stick that thing up your nose and keep it there’?”
“Well,” continued the two foot long member of the Lepidochelys Olivacea genus, “I’m no party pooper, so, yeah I did it. I had it in, maybe an inch, and that’s when, holy crap, this gang of ghost crabs show up. And they’re all, like, ‘Hey, shellboy, is that as far as you can go?’ Now, I know they’re just bullies and I should have just ignored them, but no, I didn’t want to look like a schmo in front of Bitty so I said, like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a wonder you can even see how far it’s in with those swollen eyestalks of yours’. ‘Cause they’re sensitive about that. Anyway, next thing I know, one of them flies into my face and pushes the frickin’ straw all the way up my nose! I can like still breathe and everything, ‘cause it’s like a straw, right?, but it hurt like hell. And the crab’s just skittered off, laughing their carapaces off.”
Once his tormentors were gone, his friend Bitty helped Gordon to shore to seek assistance, which is where they met up with Richardson who removed the invasive sipping accessory.
“I don’t know why he decided to make a video of the whole thing,” said Gordon. “I just hope my Dad doesn’t see it or he will totally freak.”
The sea turtle told ST that he felt compelled to tell the truth about his role in the incident and genuinely hoped this revelation wouldn’t change public perception of the plastic waste issue. “I shouldn’t have been such a moron, and the ghost crabs have problems in their own lives that they’re not dealing with in a constructive way, that’s all true. But I know other turtles that have had their lives fucked up by all this human garbage. They just weren’t caught on camera. So I hope your people can see past that and continue to focus on the real problem.”
Having watched the video and been made aware of the reaction, Gordon said, “I get that it’s really gross and difficult to watch. And yeah, it made me feel like a total dumbass, not for the first time, and it made me feel worse when I started getting all these cards telling me how brave I was and all that. But like I said, I hope that by being honest here, humans will find it in their hearts to see past what a dipshit I may have been and see that non-biodegradable plastics are a real issue that need to be dealt with.”
“You know,” the shelled reptile concluded,“this whole incident has really inspired me to become a better turtle. I want to do my bit to make this a better world, you know? So if my goofheadedness inspires humans to start thinking about what they throw away, and causes people to start using reusable steel straws, or biodegradable ones, then maybe it was all worthwhile.”
At press time, Gordon was negotiating with an unnamed company that has hopes to be marketing ‘Gordo-Approved Bamboo Straws’ later this year.