Tiny bubbles in the sea: a parable

By Herb Kandel
Posted 4/24/07

In the beginning was the tank, a very large tank. And the Mighty Cod saw that it was good and created the creatures in his likeness and called them fish.

Although all were fish, there were many sizes, shapes and colors. Some had different dorsal …

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Tiny bubbles in the sea: a parable

Posted

In the beginning was the tank, a very large tank. And the Mighty Cod saw that it was good and created the creatures in his likeness and called them fish.

Although all were fish, there were many sizes, shapes and colors. Some had different dorsal and pectoral fins. Among the dorsal fins were many textures, stiff, wavy, undulating, curvy, velvety, or rough. Some fish were round or cylindrical, others flat. Their scales had distinct color and texture also. Some were smooth to the touch, others felt like sandpaper while a few were slimy.

It came to pass that certain fish became Yappers. Their chosen profession was to let all the other fish know what was going on in different parts of the big tank as to the latest temperature changes, activity and locations of plankton (the drifting organism that is the mainstay in the aquatic environment) and krill, the other major food staple (the shrimp-like marine invertebrate animal). They did this by bubble-cast. Their bubble-casts could be tuned in (tuna-Ed, in fish talk) whenever the fish desired by just positioning the gill cover to receive the signals. The Yappers also conversed with the fish population on any subject: current currents, tide times, new coral sightings, or even the major schools‚ scores of popular games such as finball, dodge the lure, baits ball, fly catching and other sports.

Other varieties in the group included the Sharpies, and Amberjax. The Sharpies and Amberjax were self-appointed watch-fish who constantly monitored the tank and those who swam in it. They were the would-be judges of any perceived insult, slight, snub, or anything untoward said about fish with certain style fins but particularly their own. Yappers and political fish like the King mackerels being the most verbose because of their profession were easy targets. The Sharpies and Amberjax continued doing this even though they themselves were known in the past to have criticized fish with different scales like the Jewfish and Whiting. They would instantly start gnawing at any Yapper if they felt the Yapper had done something inappropriate. But for the most part all the varieties of fish swam together in the big tank and got along.

It so happened that during a game of crabbage for the tank championship that the Yapper, Ike Muskie, bubbled what he thought was a joke but in reality, as all later agreed, was a stupid, hurtful and uncalled for comment. He referred to the team composed of a diversity of she-fish as “Fuzzy finned ro’s” (an abbreviation for “roers,” i.e., loose female fish who are promiscuous, or immoral and who indiscriminately eject their eggs).

The Sharpies were joined by the Amberjax in pouncing on I. Muskie for this defamation. They organized picket lines in front of the headquarters of Sea Bubble System, Ike’s employer, demanding that they give Ike the hook. Included among the many that picketed were Rainbow trout, Black grouper, Orange roughy (for the mussel) and Red herring (just for the halibut).

Realizing the error of his stupidity, Ike apologized to the team and to all the fish he had offended. Many accepted his apology but the Sharpies and Amberjax still demanded their pound of fillet. Much was made of this incident, and it dominated a majority of all the bubble-casts — even replacing the pink salmon paternity debate about Anna Mack-rell’s fingerling and the war against Terror-fish waging in a far-off part of the tank.

The management of Sea B.S. Floundered at first and skated around the issue Then, knowing they were caught in the net of a controversy with many tentacles, they relented and reeled in Ike.

Verily, when asked why I. Muskie was yanked from bubble-casting, the explanation given was that he got caught in catch 22 where no matter in which stream you choose to swim, it turns out to be against the current — as in a riptide — and if you did not try to swim, then you get carried away with the tide to drown. Either way you are in a whirlpool of trouble.

Some contend that Ike should have been caught, grilled and released. Others accepted managements’ decision, while a minority chanted the dictum of pre-destination and invoked, “In Cod We Trust.”

Herb Kandel is an entrepreneur and a former human resources executive who now lives in Fairhope. He can be contacted at hekan@mail.com