This is not the paper I expected to be reading today: Mermaid health — identifying health issues related to mermaiding by Matthieu J. Guitton in the journal, International Maritime Health. Okay. So, I guess we've gotten to the point where enough people around the world are swimming in "monofins" that science has finally taken notice and is taking on the role of fish-marm in order to warn us of the inherent dangers of "mermaiding."
Epic quote alert: "This study surveyed professional mermaids cumulating an estimated total of 19,147 h of in-water mermaiding."
- Professional mermaids. These ain't your granddad's amateur mermaids--these motherfishers get paid!
- 19,147 hours. That's a fairly exact estimation. That's how you know that the science is credible. If he'd said "approximately 19,150 hours," there's no way we'd be able to take this paper seriously.
- In-water mermaiding. Just in case you said to yourself, Surely, the 19,147 hours of professional mermaiding includes land-based mermaid training? Nope! Although, Table 2 shows that mermaids do spend about 3% of their time at "dry gigs" (which would technically make them terra-maids).
So, what is the greatest health issue for professional mermaids (other than losing your voice to a squidwitch whilst transitioning to human)? Ear infection.
Also, 25% of the surveyed pro-maids (my term) reported an issue of "compromised access to air."
"What's the hardest part of being a professional mermaid?"
"I often find myself having compromised access to air."
"You should do more dry gigs."