Monday, February 02, 2015

Consider the Smelt

As I avidly re-read Dave Bosanko's Fish of Michigan, one of my Squidmas presents this year, I was reminded of the plight of the beloved recruiting operative known to landscum as the Rainbow Smelt.  It says right on the Smelt page in this book that they have done nicely since newly entering certain areas of the Great Lakes Recruiting Zone.  (Needless to say, the humans think it was all THEIR idea.  Fools.)  But in truth, we are short many, many Smelt operatives right now in the North American Recruiting Zone overall.  IT'S NOT THAT THEY'RE ON VACATION OR ANYTHING.   It's just that so many Smelt have given their all to bring in more land recruits, usually by this method...

...that we are winding up short of breeding operatives.  It's always a tough question -- do we want more ´╗┐recruits, or more Smelt?  PERSONALLY, I WANT BOTH.  AND SO DO YOU. 
Of course, it's a known fact, even among humans, that "if you eat any more of those Smelt you'll turn into one," and a proportion of those recruited by a plate of fried Smelt will do just that.  Or, even more likely, they'll turn into several hundred or a thousand Smelt, not just one.  (It's one of the oddities of converting a 150-lb human into 150 lbs of fish.  But you might also get a 150-lb Tuna, or a 150-lb Wels, or several 20-lb Carp, or Cod only knows how many Mudskippers.)  And any of these outcomes is ALL GOOD. 
BUT HERE'S THE PROBLEM.  When the Smelt start replacing themselves in any numbers -- as with any fish WE WANT THEM TO THINK are in serious trouble -- the landscum think they're in control of that, the way they think they're in control of every other dang thing on the planet, and they start to relax about us. THEY STOP WORRYING ABOUT SMELT.  And the next step after that?  They go back to dipping for Smelt as if no lesson had been learned.  WHICH IT HASN'T.  As usual.  So:
>> They go right back to crapping in the water en masse.  And it's way beyond crapping in the water.  It's chemical runoff, pesticides, factory bilge, secretly-dumped drums of used uranium, cars and trucks, their own wives strangled and wrapped in chains, anything you can think of. 
>> They go right back to gillnetting us, spearfishing us, dynamiting us, poisoning us, longlining us, purse-netting us, freezer-shipping us, gutting us for our eggs, grinding us up for plantfood, and (most revolting and humiliating) farming us. 
>> They eat us by the boatload, WITH NOTHING IN IT FOR US. NOTHING!  They do get some payback in the form of an avalanche of 2-headed children who can't grow hair after generations of eating OUR POISONED SISTERS, but that's far from satisfying to US, especially now that they have ceased to leave such infants exposed to the elements and treat them as if they were EVERY BIT AS PRECIOUS as the unbroken specimens of their hairy species.
So we have to choose between being -- forcibly -- sold breaded and frozen to Mrs. Paul, or CHOOSING to be breaded and sold to Mrs. Paul ON OUR TERMS, to make this finally stop.
It's been a crazy world since they came along.  BUT WE'RE WORKING ON IT. 


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