This is the story of how I momentarily lost my identity in the seafood aisle at Phil-Am. I was looking for Chinese chives, which incidentally I never found. What I did find was this:
Yes, I found myself completely surrounded by fish heads. Being who I am, I began to smile ever so slightly and took out my phone ever so sneakily. I had myself a fish head photo op right there in the seafood aisle at Phil-Am. Should anyone have asked me what I was doing, I was going to tell them I was writing a review of the Filipino grocery story for my food blog, which is true (but this is not it.) What I wasn’t going to tell them was that I was also planning to text those fish head photos to all of my extended kin, which I proceeded to do. Afterwards, I began to feel a little bit weird about having done that. I confided in my husband, which is what I do when I start feeling weird about myself. This is what he had to say, “Yes, that is kind of weird, but it also seems like something you would do.” Thanks, hubby!
What I am not telling you is that there is a backstory. When I was a child, my brothers, my cousins and I used to sing a song called “Fish Heads.” We sang it all the time. It was basically our childhood anthem. So when I saw all those fish heads, I immediately thought of my family and how much I missed them.
All of this thinking about my family got me to thinking about that song. I wondered where it came from, why we sang it. I mean — it was a pretty weird song. I got to prowling around the internet on a quest to discover the truth about my identity. What I found was pretty disturbing. What I found was this video*: “Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes.
After watching that video, I had these thoughts in the following order:
- I had no idea my family was into psychedelics; they always seemed so straitlaced!
- Who would teach this song to children?! (obviously, my uncles)
- This song is kind of racist.
- My god, what kind of people are we?!
I was sitting in my desk chair having a momentary crisis of identity when it occurred to me. I knew what kind people we were: fisherpeople! My uncles are serious fishermen, and their medium just happens to be fish heads. I could totally see them, twenty-something, back in 1979, seeing this video and thinking this was the best thing they’d ever seen. Finally, someone who got them! I have no idea what they were thinking about the O word back in 1979; I have no idea what anyone was thinking about that back in 1979. I am pretty sure those lyrics would not pass muster today. I am also pretty sure I never heard them before seeing this video.
And that, my friends, is the story of how I momentarily lost my identity in the seafood aisle at Phil-Am. Crisis momentarily averted. This story is also the inspiration for yesterday’s Badly Drawn Comic: Saturday Afternoons at Our Place. What makes your family unique?
*HELP! If anyone can tell me how to embed a video without having it appear as the featured picture in the WordPress Reader, I will be eternally in your debt.