You probably think fish die because someone — maybe you — wants to fry them in butter and sprinkle them with chopped fresh rosemary. You can’t be blamed for thinking that, because there are no plaques around reminding you that fish also die in traffic accidents. Which is why an Irvine, Calif., woman is asking her city to erect a memorial at the street corner where 1,600 pounds of live fish were dumped out of a truck.
This self-styled Maya Lin of fish is PETA volunteer Diane Korda. Her letter to town officials is almost certainly a masterpiece, and here is the best part: “[Research shows that fish] use tools, tell time, sing and have impressive long-term memories and complex social structures …” Well, that may be true, but even with their myriad talents one cannot say fish are very good with evacuation plans.
The fish were stored in tanks that cracked open as a result of the accident. When firefighters opened the back of the truck, voila, dead fish. Unfortunate-ish? Sure. Memorial-worthy? Depends on whether you think the fish are sentient creatures or whether you think fish are good paired with a Viognier. (These were saltwater bass.) Also, depends on whether you think it’s worth memorializing dead animals that were going to die anyway in like five minutes. The fish were being taken to an Asian market, where surely they awaited an identical destiny to the one they encountered at Walnut and Yale avenues, albeit with a flattering garnish.
A city spokesperson said there were as of yet no memorial plans under works. Korda, one presumes, remains busy as she awaits a reply, perhaps conducting fire drills with the residents of the aquarium.