Jun 7, 2007

A Fish Story

by Kari Diane Pike

Life is funny. Take this morning, for example. I got up before 5:00a.m., showered, did my hair, and trotted on down to Phoenix Baptist Hospital to meet a client scheduled for an induction at 6:00a.m. When I arrived, I discovered the induction had been postponed because all the labor and delivery beds were full. Sure enough, when I actually looked at my cell phone, I found the message my client sent me at 4:00a.m. No Problem! Now I had time to water the yard, fix breakfast, clean the pool, and read my e-mail before I had to chauffeur kids to their summer activities.

I clicked the link to this blog and enjoyed browsing through the posts, all the time wondering what bits of joy and wisdom today's post would bring. I wandered around a bit, checking up on those of you who are linked to ANWA Founder and Friends. After about 45 minutes, it hit me. I'm the one supposed to write the post today! Good Morning! Okay, I feel rather silly, but that's all the more reason for me to share this story today. (I guess joy and wisdom will have to wait for another day!)

In my former life (you know the one…B.C….Before Children) I studied zoology. Now that I’m raising the two-legged variety, I delight in rediscovering nature as we explore forest floors, desert washes and, our favorite place of all, coastal tidal pools.

On one of our San Diego jaunts, we decided to explore. We found a fun bit of beach with large boulders and cliffs that looked promising. It was a weekend, so there were a fair number of people already enjoying a day of fun and sun. Remnants of a recent storm, large waves crashed against the rocks, sprayed unsuspecting tourists. The uneven surface created a haven for all the amazing little tidal creatures we sought that day. A large split in the cliff revealed hundreds if not thousands of crabs clinging and scrambling in and out of the cracks and crevices. Smaller pools held shellfish and sea urchins. Even the tiniest puddles harbored barnacles and other miniature crustaceans.

Imagine my delight when I discovered a rather deep pool, teaming with life. I called the kids over to share in my discovery. We found more crabs, and urchins, shellfish, and even fish. Several varieties of fish, some quite sizable, swam in the pool while one or two floated belly up their eyes glazed over in death. I told the kids that the storm must have been rather severe. The waves probably washed the fish onto the rocks and left them stranded.

A college student standing next to me expressed concern that the rest of the fish would soon die if someone didn’t do something to set them free. He was right, of course. The pool was too small for the number and size of the fish stranded there. I asked if anyone had a cup or net or anything we could use to scoop up the fish and toss them back into the ocean. The college student handed me his paper cup and yelled,“Save the fish!” I knelt down and frantically chased the fish around with the paper cup until I succeeded to catch one of the larger ones. I jumped up, ran to the edge of the cliff, and threw the fish out towards the open sea, while the college student once again yelled, “Save the fish!” Encouraged by the cheering going on, I hurried back to the pool to continue the rescue effort.

A little old Asian gentleman now stood next to the pool with an odd look on his face. He looked at the cup in my hand and I looked at the fishing rod in his. We both looked at the fish in the pool. I gulped down the sick feeling churning up from deep inside me. The little man said something I couldn’t understand, but the look on his face confirmed what I feared. “Yours?” I asked, pointing at the pool. He nodded his head and held up the wriggling fish on the end of his line. My face burned with embarrassment as I turned to look for the college student to back me up on this innocent mistake. He stood off a little way with a bunch of his buddies, pointing and laughing at the joke they had played. It was a set up. My kids were long gone, of course. I bowed respectfully, and apologized as I backed away, then bolted to my car. Oops.

What has been an embarrassing moment for you?


  1. Well my personal favorite is when I was in junior high school (as they used to call it), there was of course the cute football captain and lucky me I had science class with him. One day my chance to get noticed happened. My class buddy had flipped his pencil over in front of the cute guy and I agreed to retrieve it. With all the passion a 14 year old can have, I sashayed over to his desk, bent down and got the pencil and went back to my desk. He whispered something to his class buddy and called me over to his desk. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "You're zipper is undone." I was mortified. Now, I'm rather touched he was polite enough to tell me. And I continue to make sure my zippers are zipped before I leave the room.

  2. One thing for sure, you'll never ever forget this. It may even become funny in about twenty years. My most embarassing experience: When I took out a hedge of Texas Ranger sage at the bank with our new Suburban. The teller just watched it all happen through her bullet proof glass and didn't once crackle static at me. Rene

  3. Kari, your beautiful description is so clear and compelling I felt I was right there. (Does it come naturally, or do you have to continually rewrite and edit like I do?) Thank you for the sweet breath of early morning joy, of family exploration, of love for all living creatures, all of which overpowered and negated your embarrassment for not knowing everything.

    My most embarrassing mistake took some ten years before I found even a touch humor in it, and ten more before it became hilarious.

    The cultural hall in our son's stake was crowded for competition on presentations from musical theater. My husband and I found seats about three quarters back near the center aisle. As I adjusted to the warmth, I wiggled out of my coat and let it droop over the back of my chair while I watched with delight.

    Intermission came, the lights went on, and I saw my daughter-in-law holding her fussy baby near the hall door, and yearned to hold him during their ward’s upcoming performance. So I stood, sidestepped to the aisle and walked all the way to the front and across to my grandson before my husband caught up with me. He stood close to my backside as he whispered, "Your dress and slip are tucked inside your pantyhose!" Then, to calm my horror, he added the most hilarious clincher: "But I don't think anybody noticed."

  4. The variety of our embarrassing moments is amazing. What is even more incredible to me is how devastating the experience seems at the moment, but with time and faith can become such wonderful stories to share and teach others. I love the plan of happiness!!!!

  5. Kari--this is MARVELOUS fodder for a book sometime. I almost wish it had happened to me so I could use it.


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