I realize that I spend a lot of time thinking about fish.
My cousin had a goldfish named Sweeney. It exploded in front of us while she was feeding it from one of those little brown fish food boxes. Thus started my strange relationship with fish.
I order it all the time in restaurants. Women do that. It’s supposed to be healthier than it’s legged competitors. If you eat the right fish that is. The ones that stay out of the dreaded mercury zones.
I never order halibut. Always comes in a high square. Like a big piece of vanilla cake. Very unfish-like. Seems as if it’s been puzzled together. Have you noticed that? You lose interest about halfway through.
I like Chilean sea bass, but that’s a bit of a political hot potato. So a bad idea when ordering. Particularly if eating with environmentalists.
Salmon. Every menu has salmon. Ugh. It’s like doing time while you’re eating dinner. You keep going with no idea why. Could anyone aptly describe the taste of a salmon filet? And now, to be acceptable, it has to be line caught by fifth generation Eskimos claiming residency above the arctic circle. Please.
When I was growing up my mother would make fish on Fridays. Catholics ate fish on Fridays. So it was always on sale. We weren’t Catholic, but my mother loved a bargain and would bake a large rectangle of frozen cod every Friday. With sliced tomatoes on the top.
My children share the same weirdness with fish. We had a vacation in the Amazon. The whole family fished for piranha. When you catch a piranha you have to bop it on the head with a mallot before you take out the hook so it doesn’t bite you. Which was a touch traumatic for all of us. But you have to do it. The stories are true. Piranha love eating people.
And so it goes.
Did you know that fish can’t swim backwards? Only sharks have eyelids? Jellyfish and starfish aren’t really fish? Tuna swim at forty-three mph? A seahorse pairs for life? One-third of male fish swimming in British waters change their sex?
Now ain’t that a fine kettle of fish?