Sunday, July 30, 2006

Practically a Joke

There is this thing about people you know. This did not happen to me as such, though it did happen in a way that directly affected my life. Imagine this as a practical joke. Leave a dead catfish in the gutter outside your friend's house.

That's it. Just leave a dead catfish in the gutter.

I don't know if you are aware of a what a S.E.P. field is. A Somebody Else's Problem field. It's a sociological phenomenon generated by anything that is simply too wierd or too disturbing to contemplate or deal with. So when someone leaves a dead catfish (a very large dead catfish) in the gutter outside your neighbor's house, the tendency is to do absolutely nothing about it.

The eventual outcome of this disturbing phenomenon is that roughly a week and a half later, there is a rain storm and all of the maggots that have been burrowing around inside the rotting carcass of the catfish come out to the surface and writhe and undulate and spill out onto the street.

Of course, just across the street lives a doctor with a fairly high-quality camera and a weblog of some degree of infamy who has been taking pictures and cataloguing the entire decomposition of the catfish.

My analysis of the situation is that the house outside of which the catfish now resides (in the gutter) is inhabited by college students who don't feel that their neighborhood is sullied nearly as much by the catfish as by their own presence (their yard is routinely strewn with empty bottles of Keystone Light and Michelob bottles...utter dreck), and therefore feel little or no need to interrupt the gentle but inevitable decay of what at one point in time was a very sizeable and impressive catfish.

The rest of the neigbors ignore the problem because it's not theirs. And so the catfish, bloated and corpulent, reeking, oozing strange and disturbing fluids, remains. In the gutter. Waiting for the monthly rumble of the street sweeper.

It could be read as an allegory for some greater truth. And that is what I challenge you the reader to come up with. Whoever comes up with the best "meaning" for the catfish in the gutter outside my neighbor's house, will have my eternal respect and admiration, a gift that transcends mere money.