I wish, I wish, I wish I were a fish

While wading in the north fork of the Owyhee River one scorching July afternoon, I noticed a few of the stout brown trout that live in that picturesque stream were floating nearby. I asked them if they would mind answering a few questions for the Reno News & Review. They were understandably unfamiliar with our paper, but kindly consented anyway.

I assumed an acceptable position, knee-deep on the edge of an exquisite blue-green pool. Stationed in front of me were six of the handsome fish, including a couple of decent lunkers. My first question—“What’s the best thing about being a trout?”

Trout No. 1: “Our swimming prowess is pretty neat. In fact, it’s unbelievable. You humans know we’re good, of course, but you don’t really know how good.” With that, he unleashed a nearly invisible turbo-shimmy move and was out of sight in the time it takes a frog to blink his eyes. In another nanoblink, he was right back in position with his buddies. “Yes sir, trout,” I said, “you’re a fast one, all right.”

T-2: “What I really like is our slime. Man, we’re covered in some truly terrific slime. I asked if I could feel it for myself. He said, “Not a chance.”

T-3: “I like the fact that the bugs that bug you mammals never bug us. We don’t have to worry about mosquito bites or bee stings. In fact, we like mosquitoes and bees. They’re tasty.”

T-4: “Another thing we love about being river livers is that the wind never bothers us. We see you guys out there gettin’ all agitated and messed with and your cheese and crackers blowin’ in the river, and we just hang down here in our holes, laughin’ and waitin’ for that good people food to float on down.”

T-5: “It’s nice being in seriously good shape. Check it out. We all swim around about 20 hours a day. Think we’re not in supremely fabulous shape right now? When was the last time you saw a fat trout?”

“Well, uh,” I began to think out loud in response, but then T-6 jumped into the mix—“And the best thing about being one of us? We know the right way to live. We know what to do and when to do it. All of us. You know what that means, don’t you? It means nothing less than the successful application of the political philosophy called anarchy. We have no leaders. We have no armies. We have no cops. How close are you humans to pulling that off?”

“Well,” I began, and unconsciously raised my hand to head to scratch it while I pondered this unexpectedly lofty turn in our dialogue. That was all it took. Zip! All six of them were gone, all at that nanoblink pace.

“Drat!” I oathed, “I didn’t get the photo!”