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Extraterrestrial Extraterrestrial
by Jan Sand
2023-04-13 07:32:58
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Some time ago, back in the late 1940’s, I became fascinated with tropical fish.  They are quite beautiful and very different from any of the other animals I kept as pets, requiring that their water, food, and general care be closely watched so that the aquarium remained in good health. The aquarium was of reasonably large size so I acquired several types of fish, but my favorites were a pair of black striped  small angelfish and I was lucky enough to discover, as they matured into large size that they were a mated pair. As I grew to know them better and as they grew to know me better our daily confrontations became recognizable signals of food or other standard possibilities.

Although I am fully aware that much of the living world is far too different from me to manage even faint interpersonal relationships, since apples are unfortunately mute, and whatever might be going on in the mind of a potato or a wild and uncivilized mushroom is far too occult to accomplish mutual communication. I expect the same is true for anything that might slither out of a flying saucer, but that opportunity has never faced me. Sign language has had a modicum of success with a pair of gorillas, but angel fish are ill equipped in that area as well, so I was left to devise, with what seemed to me small successes, with a vocabulary of significant wiggles and lip expressions. None of that, of course, even vaguely approaches a simple Shakespearean sonnet, but one must be satisfied with faint implications of fellowship, and it seemed to me something was getting across, and since I and my angel fish were both heterosexual and somewhat of a family, my presumptions may not have been totally outrageous.   

Dried food was easy enough to purchase but something that wiggles (excluding me) was definitely more enticing, so I purchased tubifex worms as a form of lively spaghetti which my angelfish consumed with obvious delight. I lived in Manhattan at that time and discovered that the southernmost lake in Central Park harbored clouds of daphnia which is a form of aquarian popcorn.  With a loop of brass wire, a discarded nylon stocking from my mother and a piece of broomstick I fabricated a net to capture a good deal of daphnia from the Central Park Lake for my family. A friendly cop advised me to get permission from the local zoo and I became officially qualified to harvest fish food from the lake.

 I doubt my angelfish relatives ever saw the Amazon River where the freshwater angelfish can be naturally found and where the fish have evolved to sustain where they were specifically designed to exist, since it seems to me that Darwin never envisioned evolution as a mechanism to sustain  the tropical fish industry. But the analogue of this peculiar endpoint to the destiny of humanity now being manufactured enthusiastically by the excesses of the rocket industry to, in effect, create fishbowls on other planets and in space itself where relatively clumsy and highly fragile tiny duplicates of the fundamental necessity of Earth conditions to keep humans alive in a vastly different naturally dangerous environment must be maintained. The fairytale concept of terraforming an entirely different planet is far beyond the capabilities of our current civilization that refuses to even realistically preserve our basic necessities on the planet where we were designed to live. The forces now furiously energizing from several directions the crushing of the different forces that keep us alive and wondrously in love with this planet must be proclaimed as the murderers they clearly are and quickly prevented from destroying everybody.

As my angelfish, imprisoned in a tiny cage of their vital necessities, never saw the wondrous freedom of the Amazon River, so we creatures of our planet, most probably imprisoned in some tiny underground fragile hole on Mars to only dream of white clouded blue skies, fields of bright Spring flowers, seas from horizon to horizon gifted with almost endless life, snowcapped mountains with waterfalls which was exchanged for endless red rocky sterile deserts with poisonous soil and blinding sandstorms.

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