42 Reasons for Fish - and Other Things

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A pair of hands trying to grab a fish

What is it about fish, eh? I’m currently going through a funny phase where everything has to relate to fish. You may have noticed that the title of this column has a vaguely fish related theme. Suddenly, if I add fish to the end of something it immediately becomes funny… well at least to me.

But why? Have I gone completely and utterly insane? Quite probably, but I think there maybe some interesting things afoot.

I’m obviously not the only one to use fish in a humorous context – though I suspect there are those far more successful than I. There was a film called A Fish Called Wanda. I personally thought it was a great film, where the title on the surface of things actually has very little relevance to the plot of the film. The fish belonging to one of the main characters (played by Michael Palin), and strangely enough being called Wanda.

Lots of madness ensues, as it should. In The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (now how did you know when you clicked the link to get to here that I would mention that, eh?), one of the titles of the books (the fourth in the trilogy) is called So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. The title comes from a quote by the dolphins (who are the second most intelligent species on the Earth, after the mice – who are hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings put there to keep an eye on the Earth which is actually a machine that is working out the question to Life, The Universe and Everything), when the dolphins realise the Earth is about to be destroyed and leave shortly before hand. Before they do though they leave a message thanking them for the fish. Very few people actually get to find out this message…one of whom happened to be an ape-descendant called Arthur Dent… who we shall not mention here.

Sorry had a Peter Jones moment there.

But fish. They’re everywhere. The bible, cook books, menu’s and for an encore they also appear in the sea.

But why are they so flippin’ funny? They don’t do anything… well they actually do quite a lot of things – swim, eat, breathe in water (that would be a useful trick actually), procreate… I wonder if they break wind. But my point is that there doesn’t appear to be that much about them that would make them funny.

In Monty Python sketches people used to slapped across the face with a fish. They in fact had a few sketches involving fish. The first that springs to mind is actually part of one of their films – The Meaning of Life – where a group of fish are talking (as they do) in a fish tank in a restaurant, shortly before a certain hyper obese Mr Creosote comes in and stuffs himself to the point where he quite kindly explodes for our amusement.

So if they’re not the actual humour themselves then they are more often than not a precursor to it.

Whales are not fish. This was a point that needed making, mostly as I’ve moved on to another page on the word processor and felt it was point worth making. My point being (rather sharp thing at the end of a knife), is that they are not the only things in the sea. There was a certain tv series, book, radio series, film and computer game which had a Whale in it which was used to humorous (if somewhat grisly) ends. But why do some people get confused and call them fish?

Probably because they have fins and have a tail… which a lot of fish do have. But they are mammals… almost very similar to, but not very much like the majority of people reading this (hello there *waves*). They breathe air… not water. So why a nature thrown two completely different internally, but so similar externally creatures together?

Utter madness if you ask me. But then life generally is.

Whales/Dolphins are generally considered to be the most intelligent creatures in the sea. Yet their opposite numbers, e.g. Fish/Sharks, are generally considered to be some of the most stupid creatures in the sea. Maybe we all just get a big kick out of seeing things more stupid than ourselves (for myself I think because I’m so exceptionally stupid I have to look to fish for amusement). Perhaps at the end of the day we’re all just really insecure and like to make our selves feel big by picking on the fish. Well if they were that intelligent maybe they wouldn’t try and eat a hook.

And now I’ll mention shavers and hedgeclippers.


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