Day 3: Today throw something away that you like.

This is what I threw away today. Probably I need to explain why I liked it in the first place.

It used to be my mother’s. Normally, that implies some level of sentimental attachment, but that’s not the case here. I have no idea where she got it, and I have no memories of it being in my parents’ house at any point – though I must have noticed it occasionally, a part of the background that unsuccessfully attempted to become part of the foreground. She was going to sell it in a garage sale several years ago, and I salvaged it – along with other items of a more practical nature that I couldn’t recall now to save my life – but I’m not sure I knew, even then, and certainly not now, why I wanted the stupid fish.

It’s lain, for years, on the podium in the office/schoolroom at the house – not because that’s where I decided it should live, but because I had no idea, from the moment I got it home, what to do with the thing – the podium was a sort of limbo, a holding cell, a temporary lodging that threatened to become permanent through the accumulation of time spent in one place.

If this doesn’t seem to explain why I like the fish, well, that’s sort of the point: my liking of it is inexplicable, without reason. It’s not functional – the mouth seems like it might have been intended to be a bottle-opener, but I can’t imagine it working well – and it’s not, at least to my taste, aesthetically pleasing. In fact, I think it’s fairly ugly. But I like it anyway, which is why it had to go.

I’m not going to miss it, exactly – I would go months at a stretch without thinking about it when it was right in front of me – but I have a feeling that, on those occasions I do remember it, I’m going to feel an odd sense of loss and regret, or perhaps an unpleasant awareness of the inevitability of the eventual loss or decay of everything I own and everyone I know; ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Because of all this, it seemed wrong to just pitch it in the dumpster, so I got rid off it in a manner that was, I feel, commensurate with my odd and idiosyncratic liking of it. Lorna and the kids and I went to a new park today, and part of our excursion involved walking through a small wooded area. I skewered the fish on a young, supple branch – one that will hopefully continue to grow, with the fish still on it – high enough to barely be within my reach. I suppose it could be considered littering, but I’m going to call it “performance art” or “guerilla civic beautification.”


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