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Dr. Flortan



10 Myths About Fish

  1. Fish are dumb.

    People want to believe they're smarter than everything else in the world. (The truth is, carrots have a higher average IQ than humans, but they don't go showing it off.) Fish are about 20 points above carrots, and can do the Times crossword in under a minute. But they don't get the Bugs Bunny clues.

  2. Fish are not interested in you.

    People fascinate fish. Fish actually like to live in aquariums, because then they can observe people closeup. We are evidently great entertainment for them.

    Fish are also very altruistic, and are known to make great sacrifices for their human counterparts. Though they don't actually enjoy it, older fish let themselves get caught by people, partly because they know what fun it is for the people. They also let it happen because if people can't catch them, they'll get cranky, start a war with each other, bring out the navies, and start using depth charges. So it's also self-preservation.

  3. Fish don't like butter.

    Fishes' favorite food, ever since the days of Atlantis when they co-existed with people peacefully, is the scone. And no matter what the American coffeehouse people say, scones are awful without butter. Ask a fish.

  4. There are more kinds of beetles than fish.

    No matter how often it is discounted, the old chestnut is still floating around. In 1966, the Beetle Council needed to drum up business, so they took out a two-page spread in the New York Times claiming that there are more beetle species in the world than fish species. It did the trick, but fish have never lived down the slight. When are marketing people going to learn?

  5. President Truman never liked fish, only deer.

    Give 'em Hell Harry was actually a huge fish fan, and in fact, often had fish he knew stay the weekend in the Lincoln bedroom. One story tells of the time Harry was waiting for an elevator. Two opened at the same time, one with a halibut in it, and one with a beautiful 8-point buck. Harry never hesitated; on the way up, he appointed the halibut to the cabinet. (That fish is still there to this day.)

  6. Fish eat each other for fun.

    There's nothing fun about eating another fish. Actually, fish rarely eat each other, except when people are watching. And even then, it's only if the one fish asks the other to do it.

  7. Fish "schools" serve no educational function.

    This one is actually somewhat laughable. Fish regularly gather to have impromptu conferences on various topics, and must swim in close proximity to hear all the opinions. The one such session which Dr. Flortan attended ended with the complete disproof of Descartes' cogito, and a replacement for NAFTA.

  8. Fish don't hold dress-up parties.

    Though they can't leave the water for any length of time, fish love to pretend they're anything but natural water-dwellers. Fish in fact comprise the second largest section of renters of costumery, according to the '97 Costume Retailers Union annual report (the largest group are of course Star Trek fans). So if you've ever seen a German Shepherd "dog-paddling" or a log "floating by", look for fins.

  9. You can't teach an old fish any tricks at all.

    Fish love learning new things, and will practice diligently when given a task. However, freshwater and aquarium fish are a bit on the shy side, so you may need to spy on them to catch them in the act of rehearsing. But some people have succeeded in training their pet mollies and loaches to fetch the morning paper, roll over and sit, and prepare crepes suzette.

    A little-known fact, and one that is publicly denied by officials: the first members of Cirque du Soleil were all sea bass. You think a daring young man on a flying trapeze is impressive...

  10. Fish don't drink.

    Actually, this one's true.