*Names and identifying details have been altered to protect the innocent people who could sue me.

March 11, 2012

Heeeeere wolfy, wolfy, wolfy ...

Last week I found myself sitting in a Rhode Island Honey Dew donut shop at 8pm on Tuesday night. The reason for this (I was waiting for a family friend to finish fencing lessons) is less important than the lesson I learned while I was there. However, before I explain what I learned, first let me explain what lessons I did not:

1. How to get grading done at 8pm on a Tuesday night
2. How to resist eating a donut when one is in a donut shop
3. How to avoid watching an Extreme Fishing show on the Animal Planet
4. Why the Animal Planet also has a show about searching for Bigfoot
5. Why the narrator of this Extreme Fishing show was insisting upon the deadly predator-ness of that highly dangerous Amazonian river monster, the wolf fish.

Which brings me to the lesson I did learn last Tuesday night. Namely, I have forgotten about my wolf fish! I can't believe this.

Back when I was in high school I was visiting the aquarium where my father works and, wandering around the tanks, happened upon one of the vets who was working on a tank full of wolf fish. Wolf fish, in case you've never seen either one on your own or via the sensationalism of an extreme fishing show, are not pretty animals. They are, basically, eels with teeth. (This is the part where my biologist friends yell at me that a) some eels have teeth and b) there is more to the wolf fish than that overly simplistic and ignorant description.)

And that's the whole point! The vet I was talking to spent many excited minutes extolling the virtues of the wolf fish. All the things I would never have thought to notice as I was busy thinking about how gross it was. And I walked away thinking to myself that, one day when I was grown up, I wanted to find a job that I loved so much that even the wolf fish of my field could get me excited.

And here we are, entering March - the deadliest of months, a month with all 5-day weeks and no vacations, a month of mud and rain and standardized testing, a month where even the hardiest of veterans succumb to the mountains of grading, the drear of the day-to-day, and the sharp volley of emails from angry parents. (I did also learn something from the Animal Planet channel about the beauty of sensationalist hyperbole, though it all sounds much more dramatic if you read it to yourself in a narrator's pseudo-British accent.) Here we are in March, two thirds of the way through the school year. Here we are in March, the longest uninterrupted stretch of teaching I have ever completed.

Here we are, and I have lost track of my wolf fish. I haven't been looking for them, marking them, listing them. In fact, I had even forgotten that my wolf fish could exist at all.

Thank you, Animal Planet, for reminding me that it was nigh time for me to pull on my waders, jump back in, and go hunting for wolf fish again.

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