News You Can Bruise: Hello.
NYCB: Is it true that you can walk on the ocean floor using your fins?
CF: You'd better believe it.
NYCB: Where do you usually walk?
CF: Just around.
NYCB: But like where? Like to the store?
CF: There are no stores in the depths of the ocean!
NYCB: Well, have you ever thought about opening a store?
NYCB: Because it's never been done before. The market is completely open. I think it would be a good business for you if you opened up a convenience store off the coast of Australia. You could sell to the other deep sea fish and to the squids and crabs and whatnot.
CF: Look, do you know what fish use for money?
NYCB: No, what?
CF: Nothing! 'Cause we're fish! We have no economy! Our relationships with other fish are predator/prey relationships or mating relationships or rival relationships! So stop with the store idea!
NYCB: Do you think that the ocean as a whole would be more productive if you had an economy?
NYCB: Why not? Humans have an economy.
CF: Yeah, and what do you get out of it? You have to work all day to get your "money"!
NYCB: But you have to work all day as well. All day you lure smaller fish to their doom with the glowing bait atop your head.
CF: That's not work! I just sit back and the fish fall into my gaping maw! It's fun!
NYCB: And then you have to evade predators.
CF: To evade predators, I simply swallow an enormous amount of water! I bet that doesn't work for you!
NYCB: No, but if a predator did get you, how would your family survive without you to provide for them?
CF: That is a moot point because I don't provide for them now.
NYCB: I'm saying that maybe it would be a good idea if you took out an insurance policy or something.
CF: I have an insurance policy!
CF: I am insured against theft, and damage from earthquake!
NYCB: That's pretty useless.
CF: We fish trade only in things that have no value! If we have something valuable, we keep it for ourselves.
NYCB: But what about symbiosis?
CF: Symbiosis is for sea anenomes!
NYCB: You're a very unpredictable interview.
CF: You are a very unpredictable interviewer. Why do you ask me about economic activity all the time? Why don't you ask me some more stupid human questions about how I walk, just like you do? Huh? How about anthropomorphizing me some more? Blaaah! I'm a coffinfish! Blaaah!
NYCB: So, uh, when you walk, are you all walkin' down the street like this, or are you all walkin' down the street like this?
CF: The first one.
NYCB: 'Cause that one's cooler?
CF: Yeah, whatever.
NYCB: Look, you wanted more questions about the walking thing.
CF: Why don't you ask me about my new book?
NYCB: You have a book?
CF: Yes, it's called "Passion and Power: The Political Houses of the Great Barrier Reef 1951-1956".
NYCB: What's it about?
CF: It's got it all: politics, food, sex, budding, intrigue, all set against the stunning backdrop of the postwar Great Barrier Reef.
NYCB: So is it a history?
CF: It's more of a fictionalized memoir. It takes place from the perspective of a young polyp who grows unobserved in the chambers of the ruling class of corals.
NYCB: I'm intrigued.
CF: It also has my favorite recipe for fish. I call it "Fish a la Fish".
NYCB: Would you like to share the recipe?
CF: Yes. First, you stay very still with your mouth open. Then, you eat the fish.
NYCB: So, it's more a means of acquiring fish than a recipe.
CF: It's both. The second part is the recipe.
NYCB: Your book sounds very interesting. Do you have a publisher?
CF: I was planning on disseminating it through oral tradition.
NYCB: You should get a publisher.
CF: Is that another economy thing?
NYCB: Sort of. I think a lot of humans would pay good money for a book written by a coffinfish.
CF: And what would I do with this "money"?
NYCB: You could buy a bunch of really tacky knicknacks and scatter them over the ocean floor, and then show them to other fish.
CF: Your human ways have corrupted me! Now I too must have these tacky knick-knacks!
CF: Tell me where are the knick-knacks!
NYCB: Like what do you want?
CF: A little castle! I must have a little castle that gets algae in it! And a treasure chest that opens to reveal fake treasure!
NYCB: That sounds like classic aquarium store material.
CF: All right, I will try your aquarium "store".
NYCB: Thanks for inaugurating this series, coffinfish.
CF: Blaaah! [swims off]