Friday, September 25, 2015

Passing of the Salmon

“I have some bad news,” the bartender tells me, just recently, in fact. I prepare myself for the worst. She’s getting to know me quite well and probably actually knows the things that matter to me, I realize.

I don’t drink, mind you, but I’m there several times a week. I drink diet coke and ask them to take their ahi tuna salad and substitute salmon. I’m pretty regular about that. It’s not typical bar food, I suppose, but it suits me.

I like salmon. I eat it a lot. I have a couple ounces for breakfast. And it’s a common thing for me to eat when I eat out.

“I have some bad news,” she says again, making sure she has my attention, and that I’m prepared. “They’re changing the menu. There’s not going to be any more salmon.”

I am stunned. I stare at her in anguish. It’s what she expected, and she seems sad. She knew this wouldn’t sit well. But I explain.

“The salmon were going away anyway,” I explain. “I always expected that. They’ll be extinct. And often when I eat salmon, I think, I’m really going to miss this. I just didn’t expect it so soon, and for this reason.”

There are still salmon in the world. That’s good at least. But she’s right that I’ll be sad when I come to the restaurant. Still, maybe it’s a wake-up call. Practice. The salmon aren’t quite gone, like the rest of the ecology. Climate change mostly, though we’re fishing out the oceans anyway, and not taking very good care of anything else.

I expect mankind itself to go extinct inside of 20 years. It’s not going to be pretty. Maybe if we started saying it out loud now, it would hit us in time to do something.

I’m going to miss the salmon, when it happens for real.

And soon after that, humanity itself.

Though whatever’s left probably won’t miss us.

Author's Note: I attended a Cary Tennis writing workshop this last weekend. This is one of the stories I wrote. The writing prompt was:
Visualize something you really love. Use the phrase “I'm going to miss you.”

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