As a future Aarkvard University student, I was getting pretty excited about attending my future school (Aarkvard University). But that was before I became acquainted with the institution's Cardinal Rule of Studentship: no illegal fish. This is true. It's in the Residence Hall Policies, stated as follows: "Fish are allowed provided ... no illegal species are kept."
I don't know about you, but there is only so long The Man can keep me down.
I should explain here that I have this weensy problem with rules. It's not that I don't like them, per se: rules are often necessary, and great in a besciamelle. It’s more that I don’t like rules made by people who are not, technically, me. I tend to feel very deeply that they suck. They suck so emphatically, in fact, that every fiber of my being* rallies to rebel against their emphatic suckfulness. Hence the fact that, all of a sudden, what I want more than anything in the world — more than global harmony, more than spicy food, more than monkey love — is illegal fish.
The thing is, I hate fish. Fish are slimy scummy crummy mucoid crud beings, the boogers of the sea, as has been proven time and time again on the following grounds:
1. Their food smells like radioactive personal regions.
2. See No. 1.
3. They regularly develop “dropsy,” a condition wherein they swell to the size of Mazda Miatas, then explode, spewing Ambiguous Fish Parts throughout your domicile (”What’s this in the sugar bowl, Sue?” “It’s sugar.” “It doesn’t look like sugar.” “It’s SUGAR.”)
Finally — and this is the pièce de résistance, or, roughly translated from the German, “wasted aquarium money” —
4. They die for fun.
I speak from experience. From the time I was seven to the time I was eleven, I kept fish for 13,000 years. My inaugural fish experience came in the form of Dawn, a goldfish from the Wrong Side of the Tracks, in that she was a genuine carnival goldfish won from a genuine carnival carny. Of course she didn’t go around broadcasting her humble origins, but you could tell by the subtle things, such as her tattoos, alcoholism, poor dental hygiene, pickup truck, etc. She died in six days, thereby setting me on a lifelong trajectory of bitterness, hate, and flossing. Tragically, she died carrying the carny’s child.
But back to The Man, or as he is sometimes known, “Aarkvard University.”** Oh sure, it tries to manipulate us with world-class educations. But I ask you, is this a fair trade for No Illegal Fish? Exactly how many entering freshmen (motto: “We have Shower Caddies!”) in the history of entering freshmen do you suppose have been blinded to this monstrous oppression via a device as transparent as a glitzy “welcome week” filled with scholastic opportunities, free dinners, visits from such luminaries as Robert Frost, Little Richard, Little Debbie, Attila the Hun, Flipper, etc.? ZERO, THAT’S how many, although I forget what the question was.
My point is, such gauntlets as The Man has here thrown down are never insurmountable. With this in mind, I’ve taken it upon myself to devise a plan. It is a plan of infinite intricacy and complexity, the formulation of which took countless seconds and involved untold blood, sweat and tears. I do not wish to blazon my own accomplishments, but during that turbulent time, I personally consumed one (1) tube of Go-Gurt brand yogurt***, preferred sustenance of intrepid pioneers everywhere. This is the kind of bullet I am willing to take for you as well as for my country. The plan goes as follows:
Step 1. Familiarize yourself with all nuances of “no illegal fish” mandate, especially the nuance whereby you are not allowed to keep illegal fish.
Step 2. Keep illegal fish anyway.
“Are you out of your mind?!” my fellow Aarkvardians are perhaps saying, mouths afoam with indignation. “I would never jeopardize four years of an unexcelled undergraduate education, not to mention graduate school and the limitless opportunities which would otherwise arise afterwards!” To which I say: whiner. The time for social reformation has come, and it is now, or 2:30, when the movie I am watching finishes.
Yet in the end (and I know you were worried), I will not attempt to combat this shameful injustice. I will grin, in the name of higher education****, and bear it. Because there is in fact one faint glimmer of hope for us, the martyred, the subjugated.
There is nothing in the Residence Hall Policies, anywhere, that prohibits any one of us from keeping a carny.
*Except a few, who are playing Tetris.
**He also goes by “Chad”.
***The Yogurt You Eat With Your Hands — Not A Spoon!
©2007, Nicola McEldowney/The Snark Ascending