From the Left



His Excellency, Don Diego

Marc Munroe Dion on

I tried. I swear I tried.

Like any columnist, I combed the week's news, looking for that thing from which a newspaper column could be built.

Iran. Nukes. Impeachment. The British royal family. Drugs. Tariffs. Heartbreak and fear and the sense that standards are slipping everywhere.

Scared hell out of me, is what happened.

And then, it struck.

I fell across the story of Diego the tortoise, who is from the Galapagos island of Espanola, who is probably 130 years old and who, wrinkled neck and all, saved his species by siring 800 turtle-ish children while working(?) in a breeding program designed to bring Diego's kind of tortoise back from the very edge of extinction.


Diego has retired, but where once there were only 15 of his kind in the world, there are now around 2,000, and about 40% of them are descended from Diego.

Without writing anything that can't be printed in what used to be called "a family newspaper," let us say that, among shell-dwellers, Diego was known for his love of the ladies, a love enthusiastically returned, even though it's hard to imagine a tortoise getting enthused about anything.

Still, while I was working at a newspaper, making myself a grilled cheese sandwich, sleeping or standing in line at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Diego, the papers say, was quietly, doggedly making sure hundreds of female tortoises were impregnated during his 30-year reign as a star breeder.

Makes me feel inadequate.


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