Wednesday, May 23, 2012

God bless the fishermen

By KAY FRANCES

The notion of fishing for sport sort of eludes me. First of all, I tend to shy away from anything that involves worms. The couple of times that I’ve gone fishing, I did so on the condition that someone else would bait the hook for me. Then - 14 hours later when I’d get a bite - I would toss the pole to someone else to reel in. I would then whine until somebody removed the fish from the hook. So, my contribution to the process is basically to sit there and take up boat space. (Come to think of it, I haven’t been invited to go fishing in years.) I’m not big on the cleaning/batter-dipping/frying part of it either. But, man, do I enjoy eating fresh fish and I’m very grateful to those who are willing to go out and catch them.

I don’t think that fish are at the top of the intellectual food chain. They are amazingly easy to fool. No matter how hungry I got, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fall for the old trick of eating food that was suspended from a hook, attached to a string. If I were walking down the street and happened upon a sandwich hanging from a string, I would not take a big bite out of it. Of course, if I were really hungry (or the sandwich looked especially tasty), anything’s possible. I guess what I’m saying is that if there were a game show called, “Are You Smarter than a Fish?” I might qualify as a contestant. Not saying I’d win, but…

Fish as pets are sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of the animal world; they get no respect. Especially in death. Sure, people might say a little prayer, but their final resting place is likely to be wherever the commode takes them upon flushing. One would never do this to their pet iguana, although this could be more out of concern for the plumbing issues that would likely ensue.

People seldom rally to the defense of fish like they do other animals. True, there is the concern for well-being of dolphins* and tuna, but not for your plain old rank-and-file fish. I’m guessing you could wear a coat with fish dangling all over it and walk through the middle of an animal rights convention and the only reaction you would get is that people would hold their noses and keep a wide berth from you. Come to think of it, wearing a Coat of Many Cods might be a good way to keep people from sitting near you in movie theatres. (Note to self: apply for Cod Coat patent immediately.) I knew my million-dollar idea would come along eventually.

*(I know, I know; dolphins aren’t “fish,” they’re mammals. That’s one of those laws of science I never really “got.” To me, if it looks like a fish and quacks like a fish…)

I have to admit that when I eat fish, I really don’t want it to look like a fish. No head or tail or eyeballs looking at me. But, I thoroughly expect that a fish will taste like a fish. I’m always a bit amused when I hear someone complain that their fish tastes “fishy.” You never hear anyone complain that their pork chop tastes “piggy” or their hamburger is a little on the “beefy” side.

I’ve even come to enjoy sushi. Most of the fish in sushi is raw. It is then wrapped in rice, seaweed and probably a couple of other unidentifiable items. Sushi is especially good when dipped in that hot mustard sauce that doubles as a sinus cleanser. Sushi is one of those foods that taste much better than it sounds like it would when you describe it.

So, as we enter fishing season, I want to extend a hearty “good luck!” to all of the fishermen out there. And, God bless ‘em, because they sure make good eatin’ (the fish, not the fishermen). And, if you find yourself swimming in fish (after they’ve been cleaned/batter-dipped/fried), give me a call. I promise: “no whining while dining.” I’ll even help with the dishes.

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