A Fine Kettle Of Fish

TO WIT

November 10, 1991|By DAVE BARRY

Concerned? You bet we are concerned, here at the Bureau of Fish and Game Acting Weird. Our first inkling of trouble was when alert reader John Wilkinson sent us this news item from the Italy news roundup in a newspaper called the European:

"Carmen Malavasi, 54, was riding her moped alongside a canal in Suzzara, Milan, when a huge carp leapt out of the water and hit her in the face. She lost control of the moped and ran into a car, which crashed into a lamppost. Both she and the car driver were taken to hospital."

This is chilling news, because until now the carp has been considered a friend to man. There are many recorded instances wherein a swimmer was drowning, and along came a carp, which realized what was happening and swam off to get help. Of course within seconds the carp completely forgot its mission; we're talking about animals with the brainpower of cashews. But at least they never did any actual harm, until this moped incident.

You are saying: "Yes, but that was just one Italian carp, probably acting on its own or at most with one or two accomplices." Well, perhaps you will change your tune when you read the following news item from the Times of London, sent in by several alert readers, concerning an incident in the town of Walthamstow, England:

"A fish breeder watched in dismay as the beautiful Koi carp, swimming gracefully in his garden pond, began blowing up, scattering multicolored scales all over his garden."

The breeder suspects that the carp were affected by a chemical in the pond. His wife is quoted as saying: "It sounds crazy, but they literally exploded, leaving lumps of fish all around the pond."

Your reaction is to realize that, according to Newton's Theory of Evolution, the next logical development is carp that can both leap and explode. This is especially alarming in light of the fact that many hotels now have decorative carp ponds in their lounge areas. It's only a matter of time before a sales professional, unwinding after a hard day, is reduced to thousands of tiny professional shards by a pond-to-air Scud Carp.

And as if that isn't enough, we also have this situation with the alcoholic marmots. We refer to a news report from the Fresno Bee, written by Gene Rose and sent in by many alert readers, headlined: Marmots Getting High on Coolant. The article states that the marmots, which are members of the ground-squirrel family, have been gnawing through car radiator hoses so they can drink the ethylene glycol coolant and get snockered.

"The marmots have apparently become ethylene glycol junkies," wildlife biologist is quoted as saying.

Any police officer will tell you there's no point in trying to reason with drunk marmots. The best way to handle them, in our opinion, would be to hire Gay Balfour of Cortez, Colo., who has invented a machine that sucks prairie dogs out of the ground. We're not making this up, either.

Prairie dogs are little underground rodents that are sometimes considered a hard-to-get-rid-of nuisance. So Mr. Balfour invented his vacuum machine, which was the subject of a Denver Post article, sent in by many alert readers, featuring a photo of a man sticking a fat hose into the ground and vacuuming prairie dogs into a huge yellow contraption. The article, written by Kit Miniclier, states that this is a harmless procedure wherein the prairie dogs "are literally sucked out of their homes into a roaring 300 mph wind tunnel and deposited inside a truck with hundreds of their equally bewildered colleagues."

This procedure would definitely sober up the marmots. But the question we must ask ourselves, as ecologists and animal-rights activists, is: Would it also work on our son? We're thinking about the problem of getting him up for school. This is very difficult FTC because he is held down by the strongest force on Earth, Bed Gravity, which renders him incapable of doing anything except shout, "I am getting up!" every five minutes. Vacuum power could be the answer.

Us: Robert! Get up right now!

Robert: I am get . . .

Vacuum: Whoooooommmm

Milliseconds later our son, traveling at 300 mph, would arrive at the breakfast table. Wouldn't that be great? It would mean a brighter future for us all, unless we are killed by carp. Pass the radiator hose.

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