UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Anthropomorphic whale hired to teach university’s daycare

Bianca Oppedisano
Mr. Woe Humpback lectures to his classroom full of students. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff.

Kids are like little Humpty Dumptys with wall fetishes. You leave them alone for two seconds and the next thing you know, they’ve climbed on top of the refrigerator with a bedsheet tied around their neck ready to “fly like the weasel-man from ‘Impractical Jokers’” and shatter their delicate eggshell into a million pieces on the kitchen floor. There’s nothing in this world tougher than raising children—unless you’re rich. In that case, you can simply employ the services of all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to burp them, poop them, feed them grilled cheese and sit on that egg until it hatches into a fully grown, privileged adult. 

For the common folk, however, who have to work hard every day to put that grilled cheese on the table, figuring out where to stash their eggs—I mean kids—affordably while they keep their noses to the grindstone can be challenging. While this proves a conundrum, UMass Boston has decided to step in and help by providing faculty and student parents a free, on-campus daycare. Despite this noble and thoughtful act, many have raised concerns over the individual tasked with watching over the program. 

“Look, I’m a very accepting person and I always try to see the good in people,” said one worried mother. “But I just don’t know how comfortable I feel with an anthropomorphic, bipedal, chronically depressed whale-monster looking after my child.”    

Her sentiment was echoed by other parents on campus, and after sitting in on a daycare session and getting to know Mr. Woe Humpback, the gray whale at the helm of the operation, I can’t say their fears were without reason. 

“I am Woe. Woe is me.” Humpback greeted the children in his usual fashion, his large, bulbous body looming over them while his barnacle-covered head came within inches of scraping the ceiling tile. “Both of those sentences are grammatically correct, but one is more true than the other.”

The typical daycare session consists of commonplace activities such as arts and crafts, nap time, snack time and everybody’s favorite, science hour. On the particular science hour I observed, Humpback decided to focus on organic anatomy; specifically, the importance of having bones.  

“They’re the framework that holds up your little meat-puppet bodies, and without them, you’d be a pile of glop,” said Humpback. “But do you know what happens when you try to hang 35 tons of meaty blubber on a one-ton skeleton and force it against its will to walk upright like a freak show side act? Pain, kids. Pain is what happens. Every single excruciating second of my existence is a constant battle against the forces of gravity just to stay alive.”     

Mr. Humpback’s odd appearance and grim personality certainly made him an odd choice for the job, and even the university will admit that he was a last-minute hire. Born and raised in a top-secret research facility somewhere in the vicinity of Newfoundland, Humpback, whose legal name is WH147b, was the product of the Canadian government’s tireless quest to create a lifeform that could breathe underwater, walk on land and dominate in a game of Jeopardy—the alpha being. However, when Humpback’s prickly and miserable demeanor clashed with Canada’s mandated politeness policy, he was released back into the wild.

Of course, given his mutated form, he could hardly swim, walk or breathe, but after thumbing his way through icy North American highways, taking rides from any foolish trucker who could tolerate his company, Humpback eventually made his way to Massachusetts. In need of work, he was recommended by a career counselor to look for a job in which he could make use of his appearance and become a laughing stock. After being rejected by the clown union, Humpback found his way to UMass Boston, where the combined laughs of the daycare children would feed both his wallet and his self-pity. 

“Did you kids ask your snowflakes if they wanted to be made?” Mr. Humpback asked, interrupting the kids while they attempted to cut paper plates into snow-like shapes. “Did your parents ever ask if you wanted to be born? You know, it’s a pretty big assumption to just assume something wants to be created, and then when that creation wishes it wasn’t so, everybody gets all flustered saying ‘You can’t say that!’ and ‘That’s not right!’ Well, I’ll say it straight up. I’m an abomination, every moment of my life is pure agony, I hate myself and I wish I was… you know what? F— it. Snack time!”

Since the opening of the daycare, parents have accused Humpback of being a negative influence. One father reported that upon picking his daughter up at the end of the day, she told him, “The world is just one big ball of uselessness biding its time until the sun goes supernova.” 

Feeling their children were too young to learn the truth, parents began calling for Humpback’s firing; however, those behind the daycare program have continued to insist that they should be grateful they get a daycare at all. In response to the university’s message, the flustered parents have decided to show their gratitude in the form of death threats directed at Humpback. 

“Oh, please, I wish!” said Humpback upon discovering the threats in his inbox. “Do you know what happens when you try to force a bullet through a thick, fatty layer of whale hide? What is…absolutely nothing! I don’t know why I answered in the form of a question, but regardless, I speak from experience.”

About the Contributors
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator