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Shell Shocked: Sea change

By Staff | Jul 6, 2016

I’ve made a momentous decision in my life. I’ve decided to undergo extensive surgery to become a fish.

The question I’ve agonized over is how will my friends and family take this? Will they be encouraging and supportive? Or will they throw me some bait, cook me and place my remains on a wall?

I’ve thought about this long and hard. One thing has become very clear to me. I no longer wish to remain a member of the Homo sapiens species.

This isn’t a matter of my switching genders. I have no desire to dress like a woman and become one. I tried it once at a masquerade party and took umbrage when one of the waiters propositioned me.

I have no desire to remain a male either. I just want out of the human race. Too many issues in the world. When will Kim Kardashian have her next child? When will LeBron James run for president? Will Assad of Syria ever get out of that suit and tie and wear a T-shirt?

This isn’t even a question of whether Trump can beat Hillary. Or if Bruce Willis will continue to appear in action flicks until he’s 90. It’s a question of the survival of the human race. I personally don’t think the human race will survive much beyond the next World Series during which a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of game seven by LeBron James will win it for the Cleveland Indians.

Well maybe the human race will hang on until after the horse that LeBron James will be riding during next year’s Triple Crown wins all three races. What helped firm up my decision to become a fish is the departure of Britain from the European Union. I had enough trouble trying to figure out what the dollar is worth in Euros. I refuse to go back to the British pound. It’s indecipherable.

My obsession with fish began when I befriended one snorkeling off the coast of the Harlem River in New York. It was a bluefish that somehow had gotten lost. It saw me doing some underwater exploration as I attempted to find hidden treasure from an old Brooklyn whaler that was torpedoed by a Bronx militia during the War between the Boroughs in the late nineteenth century.

The fish approached me and in perfect fishese asked me for directions to Lake Erie. I admired the bluefish’s sleek, polished surface and his ample fins. I told him he was very lost and that the best way to get to Lake Erie was to hitch a ride with a Stanley steamer. We then started up a conversation about life as a fish and he told me that he absolutely loved being a fish. He got to do a lot of traveling and ate exotic food from fishing line hooks.

I became very intrigued and started reading any book I could get my hands on about fish, including “Moby Dick,” “The Old Man and the Sea,” and “Mein Kampf.”

I asked the bluefish if I could see him again. He invited me to visit him and his family in Lake Erie. And so I did. I got to meet his family and realized that the lifestyle of a bluefish is better than humans. There is no discussion of gun control, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the curse of the Chicago Cubs and baby boomers. Instead, bluefish talk about worms, the weather in Martha’s Vineyard and fin care. It is a lifestyle of mobility.

When I become a fish, I would no longer need to know what is going on above the body of water I would live in. I wouldn’t have to decide if I should vote for Trump or Hillary. And I would no longer need Social Security. And so I began to prepare for this life altering journey I would be taking. I consulted with whales, tuna, red snappers and even lobsters to find out how the transition could best be made from human being to fish. I sought out surgeons who had experience in changing the gender, sex and total composition from human to fish.

I discussed this issue with my family and found them most supportive. They said they would accept me any way I am. And that I would continue to be invited to family gatherings after discussing what type of fish tank I would be most comfortable in at Thanksgiving dinners.

As the day grew closer to the complicated surgery I would face, I became more resigned to my destiny as a fish. I grew excited about leaving my skin as a human being and becoming part of a different species. Of course, I had many moments of hesitation. Who wouldn’t?

Will the other fish like me? Would I be treated any differently because of who I was before? How will I relate to the present humans in my life? Would they understand? Could I win an Espy Award for courage like Caitlyn Jenner did? Would I have to wear clothes when in the presence of humans?

The surgeon told me that these questions were perfectly normal and that once I made the transition to fish I would once again be comfortable in my own skin. I plan to continue writing these columns but as a fish. Wish me luck and Godspeed.

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.