My children’s awesome best-friend-of-the-family-who’s-so-close-to-us-we-call-her-aunt gave one of my kids a manatee for Christmas. You’re thinking of a stuffed animal shaped like a football with a goofy grin on its face. Nope. A manatee. An actual one. See? You don’t get to be a best-friend-of-the-family-who’s-so-close-to-us-we-call-her-aunt of mine without being as weird as I am.

Once my kiddo opened the gift and there was a picture of a manatee that we apparently now have to feed, walk, and cleanup after, I was suspicious. I don’t know anything about care and maintenance of your manatee. I would kill this animal faster than a ring toss goldfish if I wasn’t careful. I had to Google “manatees” to see what was going on with this thing.

As it turns out, manatees are endangered. Way to go, Aunt. You not only gave me a live animal to take care of, but you gave me an ENDANGERED one? Heck, the thing was endangered the minute you attached my name to it! There are a couple of times a week I have to think really hard about whether or not the kids got fed, and they’re sitting right in front of me!

While Googling “how to not kill your manatee,” I got distracted by all the shiny facts about manatees. Did you know that the rumors about hottie mermaids swimming around the ship in the olden days were probably manatee sightings? Do you know how long you must have been at sea AND how delirious from lack of fresh drinking water you had to be to think a manatee was a half-human, half-fish who was giving you a sexy look? Sailors had to have been really hard up for some tail (get it?) if they thought manatees were Ariel rocking the shell bra.

I also learned that manatees are just about the dumbest migrating animals ever, since they go north in the winter and south in the summer. I’m sure they have their reasons, I just don’t know what they are. Still, being football-shaped, dumb, and possibly overtly sexual towards lonely sailors does not mean they should get run over by a boat, which is apparently the leading cause of death for manatees. Not sailor STDs, like I originally thought when I read that whole “they’re not mermaids” thing.

Manatees don’t bother a soul, they just like to kind of loll about in the water and eat these cabbage-shaped things. You never hear about rabid manatee attacks, and they don’t go around leaking a sex tape, staging fake weddings, or having Kanye West’s babies like some other creatures we know. They just float there, minding their own business, probably trying to have lots of manatee sex so they can stop being on the endangered species list, when BAM! They get hit by a redneck driving a speedboat. Have you ever been hit by a boat while having sex? Humans would be endangered too if every time we tried to reproduce some dumbass ran us over with an Evinrude.

That’s why we all have to adopt a manatee. Thanks to our crazy aunt, we are now part owners of a manatee named Zewie. It apparently takes a lot of money to keep a manatee as fat and happy as they like to be, so we are, like, 1/53rd-part owners of this animal. I hope we got the left flipper. Because his other flipper is kind of messed up looking from being hit by a boat propeller. Possibly while having sex. But it wasn’t with a sailor, so it’s okay.

NOTE: You can adopt your own 1/53rd of a manatee by clicking HERE. They’re such cool people that they not only have live-streaming manatee cams that you can watch instead of cat videos on YouTube, but they don’t even mind that this was probably the stupidest article about manatees ever. And possibly the most slanderous towards both manatees and sailors.

Photo by David Schrichte, who did not think it was a mermaid. It's still really, really cute and it shouldn't have to be endangered.

Photo by David Schrichte, who did not think it was a mermaid. It’s still really, really cute and it shouldn’t have to be endangered.