Revisitin’ the Dream

So as you may recall from my previous post, that as a child I was desperate to be a marine biologist. This fact was so widely know in my town that random people frequently come up to my mother and ask her if I am actually working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and/or Sea World. She always laughs as she tells them no and because she loves me does not reveal how preposterous such an idea actually is.

Now there are a lot of reasons that I did not become a marine biologist. For one, I am terrible at biology. After I accidentally spilled the entire class’s fruit flies, setting them free and effectively putting an end to the genetics lab we were midway through, my AP bio teacher told me to just accept the fact that I would never earn a bachelor’s degree. He really hated me, so we can’t be sure whether he meant in biology or just in any subject. So there’s that, but more importantly there is no Sephora at sea. I mean, I wash my face every night with a vibrating brush that cost my mother more than the GDP of some African nations. I am pretty sure the bathroom of my research vessel would not come equipped with proper counter space for that guy or the 352 accompanying products I use on a daily basis.

The real reason, though, that I am currently sitting in an office and not on a boat is that I am terrified of fish. Specifically, fish, not sharks, not sting rays, plain old fish. Now here is the thing about fish, yes, they are significantly smaller than I am, but I don’t believe for one second they are more afraid of me than I am of them. I believe they are ruining my beach vacation just with their existence.

The worst kind of fish are lake fish; carp, pike, catfish, and other ones that I don’t want to know about. I have been scared of carp for as long as I can remember. Mind you, I would have no idea what a carp actually looks, but I know it is an ugly, large, bottom dweller. Frankly, I think that is all I need to know. I also have no idea what a pike looks like, but I do know it has teeth and would eat me with those teeth if given an opportunity to do so. Again, I think enough said. Catfish really freak me out. You know how some people watch horror movies for a rush, well I used to watch fishing shows on Saturday mornings with my dad, go with it. Anyway, one time we were watching these rednecks catch catfish by just rooting around in the river sludge with their fists until a catfish swallowed their arm up to the elbow and they could drag the fish out of the water, pry it off their arm and fry it up for dinner. I have seen Grumpy Old Men, so I know there is definitely a catfish out there that could swallow me whole.

For a while I talked a good game about being totally cool with ocean fish because they are cute and pretty. As far as sharks go, I figure that as long as you are not the deepest swimmer you’re probably safe. Unless it happens to be dawn or dusk, which is pretty much shark feeding time, then you are a goner and you deserve it for being a dummy. Anyway, I have since realized that I am perhaps not as excited about ocean fish as I would like to think. On more than one occasion I have been trying to cool off at the beach, wading in to my knees when out of nowhere a million tiny fish swim up and taunt me with their closeness. Naturally, I dealt with this situation as any rational person would by leaping on the back of the person closest to me and screaming “DRAG ME IN! DRAG ME IN!” Yes, that has actually happened, twice. Another time I was snorkeling around a shipwreck with my dad, who despite knowing my fears refused to let me death grip his ankle and have him tow me around. Two minutes in to this little adventure I saw a barracuda and sprinted back to the boat to self medicate with a few cocktails.

Most people don’t really get this fear. Medallion and Boyfriend, in particular did not quite understand the extent of my terror until they forced me to the bottom of the lake in front of Medallion’s summer house and stacked themselves up on my shoulders. We had done this many times before in a chlorinated pool and it was all quite great as we sent Medallion shooting through the air. Let’s just say that Medallion’s parents were not quite as impressed to see the two of them treading water while I swam to shore maniacally yelling “I think something touched me!”

Honestly, this paralyzing fear of fish works out pretty well. At least this way, I can just tell people that I am a total, irrational lunatic and I don’t have to chalk one more thing up to being a priss.


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