Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

No fish left behind

Dear Friends:

Today I decided to take a step forward in my crusade for more effective social action on "teensy, tinesy" issues. I created my first two yahoo groups. For some time, I've noticed that yahoo groups lead to intellectual discussions, internecine struggle, cool e mails, and a sense of being "in the in". I decided that I must appropriate some of this fun for myself. So I started two groups. My first one need not concern us much here, as it's merely the next step in my "slow to get off the ground" blitz chess club promotional phase.

Instead, I write to advise you of a new social action group to help with a pressing problem. You see, millions of millionsfish have been subjected to servitude, merely because their carnivorous co-species-itants decline to eat TetraMin flake food, notwithstanding the fact that TetraMin flake food has kept guppies, goldfish, mollies and zebra danios happy for years. Instead, these high-priced carnivores of the mason jar insist upon live food, and not just any live food--they want to eat OTHER FISH! In the wild, this type of behavior is entirely understandable, but in captivity, please pardon me, but it seems a bit, well, voracious.

Who bears the brunt of these iffy table manners? Why, the innocent guppy. Guppies, easily the most beautiful fish in the freshwater community tank, are daily hurled into small, cramped aquariums hidden in the back of pet shops, from which they serve as a kind of live larder, 12 for a dollar, for oscars, arowannas and other exotic fish that should have been left in Thailand or Lake Victoria.

My new Yahoo Group, the Feeder Guppy Rescue League, is devoted to the cause of feeder guppies everywhere. You see, in the guppy world, a sharp division (which we'll call the Sharp Division, with initial capitals, though the phrase will not appear in this post again) has arisen between the "fancy guppy", the product of frightening and sinister Mendelian breeding programs by hobbyists and breeders, and the common wild guppy, a happy-go-lucky spray-painted fellow which breeds often, but not true. For some reason, the wild guppy, along with guppies shown the door from breeding programs (also known as "cull guppies") are considered second-class citizens of the aquarium fish world. Yet, the feeder guppy thrives in the worst conditions, replicates itself beautifully, is frighteningly hardy, and makes for the absolutely most playful member of any aquarium setting.

What is the feeder guppy's fault? Apparently the feeder guppy lives too well in poor conditions, breeds too readily, and shows its color without undue conformity. These are not faults! These are virtues! Since when is being physically vigorous and unpredictably wonderful a fault? That's why the feeder guppies must all be saved!

I therefore extend to all of you, tongue planted firmly in cheek but heart nonetheless visible on sleeve, an invitation to aid the cause of feeder guppies everywhere. There are no dues, no meetings to attend, and the group moderator will not send you e mail which asks you to help out politically powerful relatives in Cameroon by providing your personal
bank account data. All that you are called upon to do is post your sympathy with this great cause, particularly if you can do so in polite but floridly overdrawn prose. Oh, and if you ever stop by a yard sale, and see an aquarium on sale for far less money than you have, give a thought to feeder rescue!
They don't run behind your bicycle like rescued greyhounds do, or cuddle up while you're watching television like rescued Persian cats do, but they have a flashy charm all their own. They serve, by the way, as an excellent metaphor for the on-line life, because they are so colorful and you come to know them so well, but you really don't ever get to touch them to speak of, at least not to any good purpose.

There are guppies out there who need you! Who are you to resist their call?
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