Tag Archives: Fish

Fish in a Can

I met my childhood best friend in the gymnasium during lunch, just after our second grade began.

During lunch, the gymnasium doubled as the lunchroom, filled with rows of collapsible picnic tables rolled in from the school storage shed, the basketball nets above folded up so as not to provide the children with yet another unwanted distraction.

I remember. No one would sit with me because of my “Chinese lunches.” According to the other children, the food my mom packed for me (leftovers from dinner and the now fashionable, but back then the as-yet-reviled bánh mì sandwiches purchased from the local Vietnamese market) – that food was so smelly and gross and simply unfit for human consumption. So go ahead and let the “Chinese” girl eat it. This went on for quite some time; longer than it should and much, much longer than seemed possible.

Then one day someone did sit next to me. A redheaded girl whose preoccupied mom began packing her sardines for lunch. I remember the heft of the can, the way the girl plunked it down at the table. No one would sit with her either, at least, not after she opened up that can of fish. She was more confused than sad about this, but then maybe her confusion just masked her sadness as it did for me.

It took a while, but we got to talking, then comparing lunches. It was a sobering exercise. Because, whatever else I had (old rice, soggy noodles, weird veggies with marinated eggs), she had fish heads. Whatever else she was, I was still the Asian girl in a mostly white school.

We were a match.

I never shared my lunch, and the girl, my eventual friend, never asked. She never ate her sardines, though she eagerly opened them every day, right after plunking that heavy tin on the table.

We smashed up the fish with her fingers, rendering them into a viscous fish-paste that fascinated (so much destruction in that particular transformation). We took the heads and spines from the sardines and threw them at boys, then girls, then whoever. We were seldom caught (not many snitches in that lunchroom and who wouldn’t appreciate some distraction?).  I was always a little proud we started with the boys, targeting them not out of malice but out of a vague sense of obligation. Anyway, it was something my friend and I never questioned.

Her mother remained preoccupied, packing her can after can of tomato-submerged fish, thinking they made a good lunch. This went on for years.

***

Bánh mì is now fashionable, so much so that non-native speakers gladly twist up their tongues trying (and failing, failing, failing) for an “authentic” pronunciation of the word, the dish. What they settle for (“Bah, bah”, “me-me-me,”) is, fortunately, often more amusing than anything else. More amusing, possibly, that it should be.

Sardines, however, remain what they are.

Still just fish in a can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Childhood, Food, Friendship, Race, Relationships, School, THE PAST

Just Another Fish Story

I often dream of fish tanks. Several large and small and each and every one full of goldfish with bubble eyes and fish with glowing skin and sharp, innumerable teeth. There are also bettas and a few catfish. Quite the collection.

The fish tanks appear in different dreams, dreams not about the fish tanks but in which they linger in the background.

Regardless, in every dream, whatever the dream in which the fish tanks appear, I approach them and am horrified, struck by the realization that I have not fed the fish.

The fish are starving, and it’s all my fault.

So I feed them. But as I feed them the fish grow larger, they swell to grotesque size and multiply. More feed, more fish, more fish more feed. So many fish, it is insane.

I don’t often wake up at this point. But beyond this point the dream gets hazy, and I don’t know what happened (what happens) with the fish tanks and I don’t know what became (what will become) of the fish.

I know I don’t regret feeding them because of the fact I forget (have forgotten) that they are my responsibility, and I need to make up for it. It’s too late not to feel that way. Everything after that is perhaps regrettable, but then how do you fight the multitudes? Is that even the point?

Not when the fish are starving.

No, not then.

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Dreams, Pets

Question? Answers!

 

“So, what do you do?”

I guess I’m getting to that age where I get asked that question a lot, and with some real expectation attached to it.

This is not unexpected.

People my age (or thereabouts, and in other words by now) have careers, real estate, cars, kids and, like, blu ray.[1]

Me? 

No.

Why?

Because!

No matter.  The question persists:

“So, what do you do?”  

The answer, “Nothing”, doesn’t satisfy and gives an air of cold detachment from the question, not to mention the asker.  Rest assured: it is unintentional, such aloofness!

Or at least I don’t mean it.

Especially since, “Oh, you’re in management?  That’s.  Amazing.”

So, in the spirit of begrudging acquiescence to banal inquiry, it’s come time to shore up a better list, a repertoire if you will, of new! exciting! suitable! answers.

Well, answers anyway.

Q:  “So, what do you do?”

A: _______________
 

1)   I am a Swamp People.

2)   Wrangling.

3)   The Erotic Arts.

4)   Loving you.

5)   Tina Fey Impersonator (not going well).

6)   “Going Greener than anyone has ever Greened before.”

7)   Preemptive Taxidermy.

8)   Icon Repair  😦 Þ 🙂

9)   Two words:  Sock.  Puppets.  Four words.  Six.  Seven.  No, eight.  TEN??

10)  Fish Monger!  (Fishwife?)

11)  “I work exclusively in the medium of Gummi.”

12)  COCKTAILS!!!

13)  Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box.

14)  Hard, industrial solvents.

15)  Pet Psychic (Afterworld Only/Weekends Only/Online Only/No Chinchillas/Cash Up Front).

16)  [Something Else to Do With Fish]

17)  “Well, these days, I’m under there.”[2]

18)  Shafting.

Can you dig it?

Mine too, baby.

19)  Baby Hypnosis.

20)  Subway Pusher (transportation, cold-cut combos, inclusive).

21)  Winston Churchill Impersonator (going exceedingly well).

22)  24 Hour Cosplay.

23)  Human Dryer.

24)  Bouncer.[3]

25)  Lips.[4]

26)  Following Jesus.[5]

27)  Dismantling the Hegemonic Bloc.[6]

28)  “Let me ask you.  Have you ever come face-to-face with a Cassowary in Full Crest after it’s done away with your entire team in the dead heat of jungle night?  You do that.  You do that and come back here and tell me what it’s like before you ever again ask me what I do.”

29)  Popping Caps.[7]

30)  Your Mom.[8]

31)  Homemade Botox.[9]

32)  Hollaback Girl.

33)  Family Tree Fan-Fiction.[10]

34)  Poof Reader [sic].[11]

35)  Ghost Hunter Hunter.[12]

36)  “You’d have to ask Cindy herself.  I am a robot She created in Her image, to deal with matters vis-à-vis this.  You.”

37)  Cryptozoology.  I Find Your Chupacabra or Yeti  in 30 minutes!  Or I don’t.

38)  “You ever notice how Batman and I are never in the same room?  Think on that.”[13]

39)  Abstract Sandwich Artist.
 

Pick and choose! 

But you may as well highlight #30.

It’s on.
 


[1] I do have Netflix depending on how popular Netflix is that day and whether Stephen is downloading anything at the same time I want, say, to watch Shakes the Clown again.

[2] Tee-hee!

[3] OK, yeah.  Me?  I know.  But you have to see the people that this actually works on.  I can’t even.  Wow.

[4] ?

[5] “Hey-Seuss”.  I was going to meet him at a farmer’s market but it was closed, which is perfect because he doesn’t actually exist.  No footprints.

[6] Just kidding.  No one does that.  Um, what’s hegemony?  Like even.

[7] Bap, bap, bap.

[8] Totes.

[9] Faux-tox.  It aspires to Botox but cheaps out, much like my clients.  Yes.  I come to your house and/or hotel room.

[10] Slowly, creatively, methodically, I gratify your desperate need for human connection in this crazy, fractured modern world, with its nuclear family units and hi-speed Internet, whist inflating your generational sense of self-important entitlement by grafting familial branches wherever you want them.  Shit, you can be related to Julius Caesar and David Beckhem for all I care.  Chaka Khan.  Whatever, man.

[11] Poop Reader [sic].

[12] All you have to do is follow the heavy, laboured path of ridiculous.

[13] YOU’RE WELCOME.

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