Meet Monsieur Pingouin / Mr. Penguin

About 10 years ago I received a letter in broken English from Belgium addressed to the Penguin Post from an wonderfully lovable,  eccentric penguin fanatic named Mr. Alfred David, aka Monsieur Pingouin.   In his letter Monsieur Pingouin wanted nothing more than to tell me about his incredible passion for penguins, his penguin collection “museum”, and that he rarely takes off his home made penguin costume in his  hope that by dressing like a penguin, eating lots of fish and acting like a penguin will somehow morph him into a penguin or something close.  Back then we did a small write up in the print version of the Penguin Post about our Belgian penguin friend and have rarely heard about him since. Being that he’s in Belgium and is not connected to the internet it’s been hard to keep tabs on Mr. David (no relation to Larry), but every once in a while I’m asked by fellow penguin lovers and the media if I know how Mr. David is doing and is he still Monsieur Pingouin?   Well,  these days Monsieur Penguin is an elderly pensioner who now dreams that one day he’ll find eternal rest in the icy waters somewhere near Antarctica, dressed in his penguin suit and laid out in a coffin decorated with penguins.  The 79-year-old Monsieur Pingouin, as he is known to locals in his Brussels neighborhood, still dons his favorite hooded black-and-white penguin costume, and his waddle is less pronounced with the canes he uses to help him get around as he looks back at more than 40 years of obsession. “My ultimate dream is to be buried in a deep ocean close to where penguins live,” David told Reuters. David’s life changed in May 1968 when his hip was injured in a car accident. His resulting limp was characterized by his colleagues as a waddle, and they dubbed him Mr Penguin. As a consequence he embraced an interest in the flightless sea bird and began collecting everything he could find that had a link with the animal. As his obsession grew, he eventually set up a museum in his home displayed some 3,500 items of penguin memorabilia. His wife showed him and his collection the door when he told her he wanted to officially change his name to Mr Penguin. David later donated his penguin collection — which ranged from penguin lavatory paper to cups and toys — to a local soccer team to raise money for the club. Proud of the international media interest he has attracted to the penguin cause, David has appeared on dozens of TV shows over the years and was invited as a special guest to the 1992 Amsterdam premiere of Batman Returns — which featured Danny DeVito as the hero’s nemesis “The Penguin.” In an era of movies such as “Happy Feet,” “March of the Penguins” and “Mr Popper’s Penguins,” television spots are rarer for him nowadays. He is still well-known in the streets of Schaerbeek, the Brussels district where he lives and where the residents greet him: “How are you today Monsieur Pingouin?” Taking a glass of red wine between his penguin-suit wings, David said he still needed to use his thumbs after all these years to make sure he does not spill.  Sometimes waiting for evolution can be a bitch.


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3 Responses to “Meet Monsieur Pingouin / Mr. Penguin”

  1. Kelli Brown Says:

    I LOVE it!!!

  2. Gail K. Says:

    Just how cute is he??? I’m thinking he must be my daughter’s long lost grandfather from another family – she could totally identify with this gentleman.

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