A friend of mine bought a house recently, and has been doing all of the things that one does upon buying a new house, like ripping out walls and tearing out ceilings while giggling maniacally, knowing full well that there’s no uptight landlord who’s going to hold back your deposit simply because you’ve compromised the structural integrity of the building. Stupid uptight landlords.
I was visiting her the other day, doing what friends of people who have recently bought houses do, which is drink their beer and make helpful comments using terms like “load-bearing” and “three-phase 220 volt” while having absolutely no idea what they mean, and just generally getting in the way. This may surprise you, but I’m quite proficient at those sorts of things.
One of the projects that’s going on is the planting of a garden. This is something about which I know very little (I will not last a month in the post-apocolyptic corner grocery store-less world), but apparently there are certain protocols involving "soil preparation" and "seeds" and whatnot, and, as I’ve recently learned, there is a tradition of burying a fish head to bring luck and ensure a bountiful harvest. Or for fertilizer. Or something. Anyway, my friend showed me the fish head that her girlyfriend* had procured for this purpose, at which point I thought to myself “Golly, Dead Acorn … a fish head could certainly play a role in some type of practical joke! You should take it with you when you leave!” (Lest you think I’m some sort of fish head thief, I asked my friend if I could take it, and she said “sure,” not realizing the solemnity and importance of the burial tradition.)
As it turns out, my actions were akin to salting the earth, or defiling the mummified remains of Laura Croft, or some such thing, as evidenced by the reaction of the gardener, who purportedly said something along the lines of “Would you please inform The Dead Acorn that I would be oh-so-grateful were he to return my fish head?” only I’m told there were words like “dickhead” and “goddamned fish-stealin’ no-account not-knowin’-what-load-bearing-means” used, spoken in a manner that would require the use of allcaps were I to type them.
I needed a fish head real quick-like.
Luckily, there’s a wholesale seafood place across the street from where I “work,” and though they were a little confused by my request, they were kind enough to save one for me to pick up the next day, and my return to the good graces of the gardener was underway (*whew*). I should mention that the original fish head was from a little baby fish (maybe a very large guppy), perhaps the size of the circle that a pitcher’s thumb and index finger make when throwing a circle changeup. This is what I got from the good people at Ocean Beauty:
Above: Likely caught on the good ship Pequod. And yes, the rest of the kitchen, and, in fact, the whole house, is as neat and orderly as that section of kitchen counter. The beer can is there for comparitive sizing; I have no idea why there's a ruler in my kitchen.
I know even less about fish than I do about gardening, and I certainly wasn’t aware that they are distant relatives of chickens, who can continue to function without heads for up to 18 months. I guess it’s the opposite with fish, and I screamed like a little girl when this one “twitched” just a bit as I was taking the pictures:
Above: An angry disembodied fish head doesn’t care who actually netted him, he’s just pissed at people in general and will exact his revenge on anyone stupid enough to get close to his razor-like teeth.
Finally, after all that trauma, the head has been delivered and buried, and I suspect we’ll see 50 ft stalks of corn towering over the neighborhood by mid-June. My one remaining concern is that I can’t seem to find the original fish head, and I think it may be in the Zuke Of Earle under a seat somewhere rotting away.
It takes a special breed of practical joker to pull one on himself.
* The term "girlyfriend" is used on this blog disirregardless of sexual orientation, so don't be gettin' all up in my grill thinking I'm using it in a derogatory fashion.
6 months ago