Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

He Dances with the Fishes

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Nov• 25•17

Oooh, baby, baby

OK, the news and TMZ reports are true. I have recently been dealing with some family issues. Perhaps I use the term “family” a tad bit too loosely. By family I mean my fish. Maybe fishly is the more appropriate term. I realize that is not exactly a word. However, if we agree to start using it moving forward, by year’s end it could easily be included in the dictionary, and it would have all started right here. How cool would that be?

I’m not sure what happens when you create a word, but I assume you get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and you get to meet the queen. By queen I mean Cersei or Latifah. Whichever one is available when I get the call from Merriam-Webster. It doesn’t really matter to me. What does matter is that I already have my bags packed.

Anyway, one day I was minding my own business when I noticed something strange going on in my fish tank. For some reason, all ten of my fish were hiding. Even Gertrude, the one who proclaims herself the Beyoncé of the group and keeps me and the other fish in line. I put my ear up to the tank and was surprised that I couldn’t even hear “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” through the glass, which was usually on repeat. Something was clearly wrong.

I immediately turned on the news to see if there were any reports of rogue fish causing mischief around the city. It wouldn’t surprise me if my fish had decided to go on strike. After all, I was feeding them bland looking fish flakes while I ate steak and potatoes. It wasn’t fair and equitable treatment by any means. Fortunately, none of my fish showed up on the FBI most-wanted list—at least not in the top ten.

Although my fish apparently weren’t fugitives, I still had reason to be concerned. Them hiding wasn’t normal. I mean, if Gertrude wouldn’t come out, who was going to lead our dance troupe trough our routines? Not everyone can get on the megaphone and yell, “Fin, fin, tail, tail, and swirl, and swirl.” I have never been good at keeping count. Especially when I’m trying to remember whether it’s right fin or left fin.

I said a hip hop, The hippie, the hippie, To the hip, hip hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it

If I can be honest, leading up to the fish disappearance, Gertrude had had me a little stressed. I don’t know about you, but it’s no fun having a fish threaten you that if you don’t hit all your steps, you could easily be replaced by Chris Brown. Apparently, he’s been dying to work with her for years. Making matters even worse, he lets his fish eat at Ruby Tuesday’s. And if they dance really good, he takes them to Red Lobster.

According to Gertrude, she taught Chris everything he knows. She has even alleged that she was the fish that taught Michael Jackson the moonwalk, which I’m sure was a bit easier for her. After all, how hard is it to float backwards in water? But I digress.

To get a better view of the situation, I stuck my head in the tank. I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t there an easier way to find fish in a fish tank? Well, yes. Possibly. But where is the fun in that? Besides, all my leadership training tells me that sometimes you just have to bring yourself down to a fish’s level to make progress happen. I mean, fish are people too. We all put on our dad jeans one fin at a time.

Anyway, with my head still in the tank, I saw something that frightened me. It was terrible to say the least. There was a sick fish here, and a sick fish there, here a fish, there a fish, everywhere a sick fish. So I did what any normal person would do. I immediately called 911 and then began performing mouth-to-gill resuscitation as I had learned from that one episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Those skills really do inevitably come in handy.

When the police and the paramedics arrived, they were quite upset for some reason. Apparently, I wasn’t exactly clear with the 911 operator when I called. I had yelled, “Help! Send someone right away! I don’t know how much longer they are going to make it,” which I thought was the right thing to do at the time. To my surprise, the police didn’t exactly consider a group of sick fish an emergency. I admit that I may have misjudged the situation, but I’m not sure I deserved to spend a week in jail for it.

Fortunately, my mother was very understanding when she bailed me out. I thought she’d be disappointed, a word she’d used so often in my childhood that I thought it was my middle name. According to her, “disappointment” was my very first word as a baby. Anyway, she had recently endured a similarly unfortunate incident herself when she called the fire department one evening because her rabbit had gone missing. She thought that maybe he had escaped, but as it turns out, he had been safely beneath her bed snuggling with her bunny slippers the whole time.

By the time I got home from jail, I had four floaters in the tank. And by floaters I mean several of my fish had decided that they’d had enough and kicked the bucket. Just like that, Gertrude and I had lost the majority of our background dancers. It was beginning to look as though we were not going to be able to pull off our Christmas Eve annual performance of The Nutcracker this year.

Real men do the ballerina

At this point, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Partly because I couldn’t afford that many fish funerals at once, and partly because I had been practicing day and night for the past three months for my big dance solo. Although I am a perfectionist, I have to admit that part of the reason for all the practice was because I felt pressured to perform well. Every time I walked past the fish tank, Gertrude would nonchalantly flash me her cellphone showing Chris Brown’s phone number on speed dial. She’s tough.

The following morning I woke up to three more floaters. As I scooped them from the tank, I wondered what I could have done to avoid this. I mean, we are all depressed that Game of Thrones and Veep both only have one more season left, but certainly there had to be more to live for. Right? Maybe I hadn’t administered enough CPR. Maybe I shouldn’t have poured as much Nyquil in the tank or forced the fish to take adult Tylenol three times a day. Clearly, I had failed my fish. This would have never happened to Chris Brown…or Meredith Grey.

The next day all but one fish had keeled over. In the center of the tank was my last remaining fish giving me a sinister look. It was Gertrude. She explained how the rest of the fish simply couldn’t cut it so she did what she had to do. She had recently watched The Godfather and decided her tank mates would be better off if they “sleep with the fishes.” If they couldn’t fin-fin-tail-tail properly, what good were they as backup dancers?

New dance called “The Scowl and Point”

That noted, if you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because Gertrude has me and her replacement backup dancers on house arrest until we nail all of our steps. She has been more than clear that “The Nutcracker” will not fail under her watch. Not today. Not ever! If we ever forget our role as supporting dancers, she is quick to remind us that Chris Brown is ready and willing to fill in at a moment’s notice. But for now, me and the backup fish will just keep dancing, and sleeping with one eye open.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1
Instagram and Twitter handles: @mikeyllo

All smiles here!

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