So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

I hear that some Pakistani guy is the latest internet sensation with his little Youtube video “one pound fish”. who know one little pound fish would make all the difference in thee world in someone’s life. “My Queens England fish stall changed my whole life it will always remain dear to my heart.”  – The Examiner

Why do we like this little guy? For the same reason we like Rocky – many of us are lost in jobs we hate, most of us strive for fulfillment, everyone has a dream. We are all fishmongers.

I received an email from my friend A right after New Years. It said: “I feel lost in corporate America which isn’t helping. It’s not that I’m in a huge conglomerate of an organization, it’s not giant, its pleasant. It’s ok, but just a job, and I just don’t buy into the acronyms, the team hip hip hurrays, the meetings upon meetings, the mindless shit. It’s that I can’t be home with my babies, and if I had to work, which I do, its that it’s not more meaningful. I long to do something more, more important, life affirming, life changing. How do people find that?”

Will it help her to know that most mother’s feel the way she does? That she is part of a culture of isolation and although she can’t see it, those feelings happen in many house all around America. Having already gone through that age with my child, will it help her if I tell her that it will pass? Will it help her to know that simply by being, by articulating her struggles, her quest, she reaffirms and inspires others? Will it help if I say, “Don’t Panic, it’s only life, after all…”

How DO people find that? Someone found it in a fish stall. I had it once. I had the privilege of helping shape the lives of some extraordinary young women. I loved my work, but ultimately I had to choose between that and parenthood. As adults, we all have to make difficult choices. It was so very hard for me not to laugh at JJ when he talked about his previous relationship, but as I said before, I had promised myself to respect his immaturity as a needed thing. A place to grow from. I struggle many days, deciding what not to say to my friend S and to allow him to learn on his own. My first inclination is to tell all and protect him from the things that I know lie ahead for him. I often feel like a dolphin and have an overwhelming urge to sing him the dolphin song, but I would be doing him no favors:

Dolphins: [singing] So long, and thanks for all the fish / So sad that it should come to this / We tried to warn you all, but, oh, dear / You may not share out intellect / Which might explain your disrespect / For all the natural wonders that grow around you / So long, so long, and thanks for all the fish! The world’s about to be destroyed / There’s no point getting all annoyed / Lie back and let the planet dissolve around you / Despite those nets of tuna fleets / We thought that most of you were sweet / Especially tiny tots and your pregnant women / So long, so long, so long, so long, so long! So long, so long, so long, so long, so long! So long, so long, and thanks for all the fish!

The irony of how wrong they really are is the magic of life that my young friends have not yet known. Like Parceval, they do not know the questions to ask. I don’t worry about my friend who struggles with motherhood, jobs, diet or disillusionment. She’ll be fine.  It’s the one’s who want to take that easy way that worry me. They will soon believe too that they are the only one’s who feel disillusioned, the only one’s who struggle, the only one’s who feel lost or, perhaps, worry that they made the wrong choices. They believe that love, marriage, and family is something very different than it is. This is the responsibility that JJ chose not to take on. Maybe it will help my friend to know that this place she is in is the dark place – the Hades of Persephone; the lonely dinning hall of Penelope; the grail castle. That she asks these questions is the way to restoration. That she bears this burden is the way to redemption.

How did I handle it? I started in my kitchen. Who knows, fish might just be the answer…


Today is food for thought and I have a charming book recommendation for all of you. No review, just a few choice quotes from the book:

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

“God’s Final Message to His Creation: ‘We apologize for the inconvenience.”

“Having not said anything the first time, it was somehow even more difficult to broach the subject the second time around.”

“Grown men, he told himself, in flat contradiction of centuries of accumulated evidence about the way grown men behave, do not behave like this.”

“The problem is, or rather one of the problems, for there are many, a sizeable proportion of which are continually clogging up the civil, commercial, and criminal courts in all areas of the Galaxy, and especially, where possible, the more corrupt ones, this.
The previous sentence makes sense. That is not the problem.
This is:
Read it through again and you’ll get it.”

“It’s an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, Man had always assumed that he was the most intelligent species occupying the planet, instead of the *third* most intelligent. The second most intelligent creatures were of course dolphins who, curiously enough, had long known of the impending destruction of the planet earth. They had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger, but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for titbits. So they eventually decided they would leave earth by their own means. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backward somersault through a hoop while whistling the star-spangled banner, but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish”


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