Fish

Even though I don’t own a fish, I print off several articles about euthanizing fish.

The articles are all available on the internet for free, but now I have paper copies of them in the real world.

I find this so convenient that I shake my head.

I recommend that you find opportunities in your own life to shake your head in wonder.

If I had the resources at my disposal—a fish suffering needlessly, medical supplies—the way I would euthanize fish would be to inject the fish with an overdose of barbiturates, which is one of the methods recommended in the articles.

My father and mother are veterinarians, so I have often helped euthanize animals with an overdose of barbiturates, so for me this method of euthanizing fish would be like riding a bicycle or putting on an old and forgiving pair of sweatpants.

If you feel strange about me telling you that I have helped euthanize dozens of animals, don’t be mistaken: I’m not bragging.

I didn’t like euthanizing the animals.

It was my job as the son of veterinarians to help kill animals sometimes, and I tried to approach the office with a measure of solemnity.

For instance: if someone mentioned that we were going to “put an animal down” I wouldn’t make a joke about insulting the animal to death.

I showed restraint.

I’m not sure why I’m printing these articles off.

I came across idea of euthanizing fish and found it fascinating, head-shakeable.

I have a hard time identifying with fish.

I feel that I am not alone in this.

I agree that fish are living creatures and don’t deserve to suffer and so give mental assent to the idea that in certain circumstances euthanasia may be called for.

But I have to admit that I find it comical to imagine a human drawing up a large dose of Euthasol in a needle in order to give the gift of eternal rest to a fish.

The human flicks the syringe to get them bubbles out.

Gotta get them bubbles out, because even though you’re putting a living creature to death, you don’t want bubbles.

Embolism is a much worse way to go than your typical death by injection of Euthasol.

The Euthasol in the syringe looks thick and deep and red.

They color it to so that doctors don’t accidentally inject Euthasol in circumstances that don’t require euthanasia.

Then the doctor injects a fish with the deep red fluid in order to put the fish out of its misery.

Except that all fish appear to be miserable all the time.

The only times that I didn’t find the death of animals by euthanasia poignant were the times I worked very hard to deny the poignancy.

Most fish have faces that can only express glum resignation to the misery of their sunless lives.

It hardly needs to be said that having to make an effort to deny the poignancy of an animal’s death by euthanasia reinforces the inherent poignancy of watching a living thing breathe its last.

If we’re going to euthanize miserable fish, I’m worried we won’t know when to stop.

I remember assisting in one euthanasia, maybe a few, and praying for the departing soul of the dog, the way I imagined a Native American would have.

I found myself under the sway of the Michael Mann film Last of the Mohicans during this time.

In particular my sister and I liked Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance.

We liked the way he wiped sweat from his face while talking about Huron raiding parties.

He wiped the sweat away and then looked at the sweat on the meat of his palm.

Now that’s acting.

And now the smooth white sheets of paper run hot into my hands.

Now I have these articles about euthanizing fish as proof of people trying to do the right thing and trying to be good.

Fish

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