Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A fish story

Generally speaking, it does not bother me to dissect things. In fact, I sort of geek out over it. It gives me the opportunity to understand things better than I did when I was 15 plus I think my hand is a lot steadier now than it was then (that's what needle crafts will do for you). But the perch we did today was not at all fun. It wasn't even interesting. It was, in short, a waste. I think I will retain that knowledge for the next 4 children who come along, needing to do biology dissection.

It didn't start out too badly. We identified the fins and all, then we pulled off the thing that covers the gills (operculum, maybe?) and got to look at the beautiful gills. Have you ever looked at gills? They are truly works of art in miniature. I like gills. But then we started dissecting the body of the fish and things got dicey.

Sarah and I planned to do this dissection when we wouldn't be eating fish anytime soon afterward. I thought she might have been overreacting a bit but after the time we spent on that thing, it'll be a long time before I enjoy tilapia. The basic problem is that it's so hard to cut through the muscles (the part that we eat) to get to the guts. I commented that it would have been good to have done this with Grandpa Bob because he's gone and gutted a lot of fish in his day. We finally got down to the organs and couldn't identify some of them. And we very much confused the stomach and the air bladder. We got it worked out, but this was the beginning of Sarah's assertion that this fish had cursed itself before it died so that its body could not be used to learn anything useful.

By the end of the 2-hour dissection, I was ready to believe her. After arduously scraping down through the skull of the fish to find its brain, know what we found?

Nada. Nothing. Nothing at all. I do think that fish was cursed.

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