from March 1, 2004
In its February 10 issue, the San Jose Mercury News reports that a 280-pound sea lion was discovered by an unnamed farmer near a San Joaquin Valley cotton field in the vicinity of Los Banos. This shy man put in a call to the California Highway Patrol, which called the Department of Fish and Game, which in turn announced that it was “pretty surprised”—so surprised that it theorized that the large creature must be a calf or a beaver or “something else.”
These theories were soon scuttled. Upon further reflection by the dozens of gathering observers, another theory soon emerged. The creature was a sea lion, which had swum under the Golden Gate Bridge into the San Francisco Bay, took a wrong turn at Pier 39, moved through San Pablo Bay and the delta past Stockton and thence down the San Joaquin River until it ran out of water, at which point it huffed and puffed its way in the direction of the aforementioned cotton field.
Improbable? Only if there is a better theory.
We thinkers at the Myles Junior Think Tank hold to the principle established by the fourteenth-century philosopher and heretic William of Occam, the principle that has been accorded the sobriquet “Occam’s Razor,” which, elegantly stated, is: Keep it simple.
In our opinion, there is a simpler, and therefore superior, theory. The mammal discovered by the timid farmer was not a sea lion but what might be dubbed the San Luis Reservoir monster.
The evidence for this alternative theory is straightforward. One only has to ask a short series of questions. First, what kind of a creature was this? Answer: a water creature. Second, what was its size? Answer: large. Third, what was the body of water closest to the cotton field near which this creature was discovered? Answer: the San Luis Reservoir.
Now consider: how far would this creature have had to swim to get from the Golden Gate to the cotton field? A whopping 135 miles. But how many miles would it have had to traverse to get from the San Luis Reservoir to that spot? According to Rand McNally, a mere 30.
Improbable? Guided by the wisdom of Occam, the MJTT opines, Not at all.
Such a theory is not without predecessors. One need only recall the renowned Loch Ness Monster to see this point. Put differently, if Loch Ness has a monster, what is to prevent the San Luis Reservoir from laying claim to its own?