Dear Future Americans,
There are many things I could apologize for, but most of them would beg the question, “then why don’t you change your behavior”, and I have no intention of turning “European” for the remainder of time I manage to scratch out on this planet. I won’t apologize for using plastic bags, turning on a space heater to go to the bathroom, funding proxy wars, or selling defective seeds to the Indian sub-continent. I will, however, apologize for the fish.
I feel bad about the fish.
When I was a kid, I inherited the bias from my parents (both born in 1929) that fish was “poor people’s food,” so I complained about fish. There was plenty of it, especially codfish. They made bad frozen fish sticks out of it, we put it in soup, you could get cod cakes, etc. I think they also ground some up to make cat food and fertilizer. I know, unthinkable, but what can I say? We thought that there were “plenty of fish in the ocean.”
At some point I realized that cod was kind of rare. The price kept going up. Getting fresh cod that hadn’t been frozen or salted became a trick. I stopped using it in fish chowder. I stopped making cod cakes with good, fresh cod. At the prices they were charging there was only one way to eat it: broil that fillet with butter. I even stopped putting breadcrumbs on top. I mean, fuck that. There are plenty of breadcrumbs in the world. We can always grow more breadcrumbs.
But cod, wild fresh cod, they are almost all gone from these New England waters. Sorry about that. If it is any consolation to you, I never got to eat carrier pigeon or whale blubber. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and eat to extinction those animals that you DO have.
You couldn’t, for example, eat all the squirrels in North America, could you? You should start now. It is your right to eat something off the planet. Don’t let us down.