Try being a fish out of water

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My granddaughter, Allie, looked over the side of the canoe at two fish, let’s call them Rick and Bubba, moving in the water. Curious, she reached down and pulled up the stringer holding them captive.

After she did this the third time, her parents and her grandmother, me, advised her that bringing them out of the water was not the best thing for their health.

“Think about it this way,” I said. “It is like someone pushing your head into the lake and then letting you come back to breathe then pushing you under again. I doubt it is fun.”

That is when a strange thought came rushing in, not an uncommon thing for me. And, off I went into imagination as the fishermen paddled back out into the lake.

What is the human equivalent of a fish-out-of-water experience? That question led me on a merry journey in my head — complete with dialogue.

It is a beautiful spring afternoon. Susie sits in her chair beside the peaceful water. She is relaxing, appreciating the day. (Like our fish friend probably does under the water).

“What a glorious day,” she thinks. “So perfect.”

Well almost perfect, she sighs.

“A yummy treat is all I need to be content.”

(Now I cannot know if fish think about yummy treats, but maybe.)

Suddenly, a piece of delicious chocolate appears (that’s my favorite bait), dangling on a string in front of her face.

“My, my, what is this?” she says. “I dream of a snack and it appears.”

Not sure what to make of this miracle, she tentatively pulls the chocolate toward her, breaking off a piece in the process. As she does this, the string flies out of her hand and disappears.

“How odd,” she whispers, slipping the sweet into her mouth. “Oh, this is great tasting candy.”

Just as she utters the words, the string returns with a new piece of chocolate hanging from it. The temptation is too much for Susie, and she grabs the delicacy, string and all.

With a mighty whoosh, she lifts from her chair, landing in a strange place with odd-looking creatures hovering over her as she struggles for air.

“What the heck is happening?” her brain screams. “Where am I?”

One of the creatures ties her up, letting her dangle for a moment in mid air. Then with a plop, she lands back near her chair gasping as her lungs fill with oxygen. Trapped, she tries to figure out what to do.

With another whoosh, she finds herself dangling again, trying to breathe while the smaller creature watches her spin in circles. Then, plop she’s back on the ground beside her chair.

This continues for what seems like hours, until finally the line holding her loosens and she is free. Picking herself up, she races for the safety of home.

“Oh, honey, you are not going to believe what happened,” she says to her significant other. “There was chocolate, and then I landed in this funny looking craft, and I couldn’t breathe and these aliens spun me around looking me over, and they kept dropping me and pulling me back and then they untied me and the line disappeared and I ran to the house. It was awful.”

He looks up, smiles and shakes his head.

“Did you have a little something to drink earlier?” he asks.

“Well never mind,” she says. “I know it sounds crazy, but it happened, and I’m never eating chocolate again.”

The moral of the story – it’s all about perspective in any experience. Sometimes we are the anglers having fun at the lake. And, sometimes we are the fish, wondering how to explain the unexplainable to someone who hasn’t had the experience.

I’m just betting Rick Fish was glad he had Bubba Fish to corroborate his alien abduction story.