This is an atypical post for Deep Existence, but I can’t pass up sharing a funny story that makes me look bad.
Kill Devil Hills @ The Outer Banks, NC – May 2nd, 2011
We had to try to save the cute little puffer fish. He was helpless on the beach and we wanted to send him home. I bravely volunteered to toss him back from whence he came.
As I balanced the puffed-up specimen on a large seashell in my left hand, I realized that two women were watching me. It doesn’t matter if the two women are your sister and grandma – when women are watching a man throw something, he must throw it well. As such, I knew that a left-handed throw would not suffice. Heck, that could be embarrassing. So I suavely shifted the open-faced puffer fish sandwich into my right hand.
Not only was I going to be a hero for saving the poor puffer fish, but I would throw it really far like Joe Montana. I heaved it as hard as I possibly could into the sea.
- Ego damage – It was a not anything like a Joe Montana pass. The puffer fish slid off of the shell prematurely and it ended up looking like a shanked NFL punt.
- Physical damage – Due to the loss of the puffer fish’s weight right before swinging my arm wildly, I pulled a muscle in my back (it still hurts).
- Morale damage – The cherry on top was seeing the puffer fish helplessly float right back onto the shore.
Oh yeah, and I think I could have died. I was touching it and holding it. Little did I know that there is enough toxin in a puffer fish to kill 30 human beings. The toxin is mostly internal, but it does reside on their skin and spines (he was puffed). To give you an idea of the toxicity – it is 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide.
Katie: “Aren’t they poisonous or something?”
Stephen: “Yeah, I think I’ve heard something about that, but I’m not sure.”
*Stephen picks up puffer fish*
Two minutes later…
Stephen: “I wonder what the protocol is for washing hands after handling a puffer fish.”
*Stephen eats sandwich*
I was casually eating a sandwich right after handling a creature covered in lethal poison?! Mmm…yeah. I’m just an extreme person who takes risks. It’s neat that I didn’t die. My back is killing me, but only figuratively speaking.
Interesting fact: Puffer fish are a delicacy in Japan. Highly trained chefs must cut the meat in such a way that the customers are not destroyed internally from eating it. There are still about 100 deaths per year from this.
The cost of a single serving of puffer fish? Hundreds of dollars and your life (tax).
…but you can throw or lick them for free.