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10 Myths About Fish
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- Fish don't drink.
Actually, this one's true.