Bobert Herbert Walker Weir was born on October 14, 1947, and now he is a river otter. Bobby has been many things to many people–band mate, friend, husband, father, quarterback for the Tamalpais Chiefs–and continues to evolve on a personal and musical level. In West Germany in 1972, he was a spy for a few days. (It turns out the head spook for the CIA looks exactly like Bobby, and they switched briefcases accidentally, and all sorts of hijinks ensued.) But now, as I said, he is a river otter.
An extinct river otter, anyhow: a paleontologist named Kari Prassack identified a new species of otter; it lived in North America about 3.5 million years ago, and was smaller than today’s otters. When you find something, you get to name it, and as Kari is a Deadhead, she christened the discovery Lontra weiri in honor of Bobby.(There are species named after all kinds of famous people–Zappa has a bunch of stuff named after him–but only one Dead-related critter: Dicrotendipes thanatogratus. “Thanatogratus” is Dog Greek for Grateful Dead, and it describes a particular kind of midge, a non-biting one that looks like this:
So, I guess we all learned something today.)
We should have seen this coming: the clues have always been there!
- Like an otter, Bobby enjoys shellfish.
- Spends a good deal of the day primping and grooming his fur to maintain buoyancy and warmth.
- Occasionally holds hands with his wife, Natasha Monster, while he sleeps. (This is not to prevent floating away, but out of love, and yet I am still going to count it.)
- Like otters, Bobby was once almost hunted to extinction for his pelt, but has since rebounded due to strong protections and responsible stewardship.
There is also this:
Bobby is a river otter.