So I was walking down the street the other day, and I noticed the man approaching me was wearing a shimmery kind of vinyl suit, the sort which are found on many seventies-era muscle car seatcovers. Even more queer than this, he had a bulge in his blazer which ended in a fish tail. My street smarts muffling my curiousity, I decided to let him by unfettered. At the last moment, as he passed me, I changed my mind and open my mouth to question verbally his choice of accessory. Unfortunately, at the second-to-last moment, he had chosen to withdraw his fish and give it a good lunge at my dear face.
So here I am, slack-jawed and smack dab in the flight path of a twelve-pound trout. Fortunately, my cat-like reflexes and my Murphy’s law disposition to expect these kinds of situations to arise led me to flop myself earthward, much like the projectile trout I was hoping to evade might have, were it in my situation.
And in the series of instants that were to follow, my brain sped, or the world slowed, or possibly the two embraced and did a little jig. An I thought: “Civilizations are silly. Every one of them was/is doing something, or somethings stupid. And they didn’t/don’t even realize it. Take the ancient Greeks, and their ‘This god makes rain, and this god brings the harvest, and so on. And the Europeans and their acknowledgement and endorsement of slavery. I wonder what we are doing that will be looked back upon as our big mistake. What behavior will my grandchildren scold me for participating in? The continued oppression, exploitation, and marginalization of indigenous peoples? Our horrific treatment of animals, or the constant bombardment of our youth with brainwashing advertisements, or is it something else entirely? Something to which I’ve grown up knowing no alternative, and can’t begin to realize how truly awful it is. Could the paving over and dumping of pollutants and genetic engineering…”
And then the fish hit me.
(Originally published in 2004)