Like most people, I trudge this earth daydreaming about being the person to come up with the next big thing. It’s either that, or becoming a famous writer who commands the respect and admiration of all who read my work. Having checked back on my typical blog posts, I think we can all agree that it’s safe to scratch the famous writer option off of the pipe dream list. I was strolling through the bedlam of weekend shoppers at my local grocery store in just such a daydreaming state. As I steered my cart to avoid ramming a pair of hungry cougars, I noticed the sign below. Look closely, and you may notice something a little strange.
If you were too stunned by the sticker shock to notice anything else, take another look. That’s right, the store in question is advertising both types of fish as “wild”. A quick inspection of the rest of the offerings found farm raised shrimp, salmon and talapia, but no larger ones like tuna, swordfish or hammerhead sharks. I headed toward produce aisle and the wheels in my mind began to turn much like the ones of my cart ( That is to say, three of the wheels turned and one of them skipped across the floor pointing the wrong way and not really doing its job. It’s not easy having a mind which can only function with a maximum of 75% focus on direction at any given time). I thought about the lack of farm raised swordfish. Was this my niche? Logistically, it would take several rather large tanks to raise them, and catching one for harvest might prove nearly as challenging as it is for the guys who hunt the wild ones. Then that fourth wheel in my head briefly struck the tile floor and put me off in another direction; what if I raised swordfish like the veal of the sea? I could market them as more tender than their rough-living, sea-faring brethren. Little pens would save me the expense and challenge of maintaining of a 10 acre ecosystem. Of course, raising a noble beast like a swordfish in a restrictive box would have the animal rights people up in arms, but I could just ignore them. Greenpeace can whine all they want. All I need to do is convince the foodies of the world that farm raised is the best source for sustainable, tender fish. I’ll take a page from the beef folks and come up with a different name for my crop so that fewer people are offended. It was a stroke of marketing genius when they decided to call it “veal” instead of “adolescent cows imprisoned in vertical coffins and fed milk“. I could set the whole thing up in some remote harbor in Belize or Panama. Hire a few locals to run the show. I could fly in on a float plane every month or two and spread the pesos around, big man on the fish farm. Then I’d hop back up to my gated estate and sip rum while writing blog posts about how hard it can be to find a good snow shovel when living in the tropics. The key would be to keep myself out of any sort of photos connecting me to the operation, just in case Pamela Anderson or some PETA goon-squad start nosing around. If things got too dicey, I’d sell the whole operation to Donald Trump and make a tidy little profit. I was on the verge of coming up with some schematics for expandable fish cage designs when I saw something else which derailed my train of thought completely.
How is it that nearly every other loose vegetable in the store is picked up by hand, but the Brussels sprouts somehow rate a dedicated set of tongs? More importantly, who could possibly be expected to be able to pick up more than two sprouts on any given attempt? Is leashing the tongs to the bin really necessary? Is that a security thing, or are they just trying to keep anyone from cross contaminating the tongs by using them for the sugar snap peas? My swordfish farming scheme had already faded into the back corners of my cavernous head as I pondered the conundrum of the Brussels sprouts. Before I could untangle the riddle of the tongs, I turned the corner and saw this:
I know, right?! That slob is talking to his kid while he sits his fat ass right in the cheddar – you can just see her little feet! As a parent, you’re constantly setting examples for your children. He may well have been teaching his daughter how to cut the cheese in the cheese. I was just about to go deep into my mind to ponder how anyone could be so inconsiderate when my camera began chirping in my hand. That’s right, my camera is also a phone! Technology, huh?! Anyway, it was my wife, wanting to know why the hell I wasn’t home with the groceries yet. I glanced down at my nearly empty cart and quickly stammered to her that the store was very crowded. She told me to remember to pick up some fish and Brussels sprouts for dinner. I turned the cart around.