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Jellyfish looking for bumblebee | What’s up with that?

Decoding a mysterious flyer floating around town.

Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

In my neighborhood, I’ve been seeing paper flyers taped up that say, “Jellyfish looking for bumblebee.…Leave a note for me at the Erikson Institute.” There’s no contact info or explanation of why a jellyfish would seek a bumblebee.—Joe, Palmer Square

As instructed, we left a note (voice-mail message, really) at the Erikson Institute, the graduate school in child development on LaSalle Street in the Loop. The institute’s director of communications, Anne Divita Kopacz, got back to us a few hours later, sounding bewildered. “The flyer isn’t produced by Erikson, and after asking around, no one here knows what this references.” If it’s a sly nod to the school’s namesake, Erik Erikson, the German-born psychoanalyst who coined the phrase “identity crisis,” Kopacz wouldn’t speculate. Looking for someone to shed a little light on jellyfish and bumblebees, we rang a beekeeper. Sean Shaffer works for the North Park Village Nature Center (5801 N Pulaski Rd, 312-744-5472), which has a year-round indoor observation hive and removes bee swarms reported on the city’s North Side. Also—small world—he happens to have a good friend enrolled at the Erikson Institute. “Jellyfish and bees can both sting, but in very different realms,” Shaffer said, attempting to decode what could simply be street-artist gibberish. Perhaps, he suggested, it’s someone at the school secretly seeking the ever-elusive Mr. or Ms. Right. “In life, in nature, I don’t think these two [species] would ever meet. Maybe that’s the point.”

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