Go Ask Daddy About Small Fries, and Swiss Arches


photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

It’s that awkward moment you realize your kid knows more than you think she does.

Grace and I walked along the pond’s edge to a better fishing spot. On our way, the sun exposed an amphibian love tryst, right there in the shallow water.  We caught Malik the boy turtle striking a pose in back of Harriet the girl turtle.

Even turtles do the wild thing.

“What are they doing, dad?” she asked.

Wrestling,” I snapped back (I swear Harriet smirked before I turned away.) “That’s how box turtles settle scores and establish territory. It’s a long tradition, and we should give them privacy. It’s customary for them to play Marvin Gaye albums during the process.”

Grace nodded, and we cast our lines on the other side of the pond.

Later, a boy cardinal (I’m going to guess – Brett?) chased a girl cardinal (Tracie, for sure) across the pond surface and into the privacy of an evergreen.

“Dad,” the question machine said. “Are they mating?”

Maybe Disney Channel isn’t as dangerous as the Discovery Channel.

While we’re on the subject …

1.     If your fish have babies, shouldn’t you put them in a separate tank?

photo credit: Storeyland via photopin cc
photo credit: Storeyland via photopin cc

Yes. And it helps if you can leave enough plastic plants that mom and dad fish (for sure Leland and Trixie) can, you know, wrestle like turtles. (Did you know baby fish are called fry? No wonder their parents eat them!) You should use a low-power filter with a protective sponge on the intake.

This is to prevent small fry from getting sucked in.

Put the fry in a small tank, or at least a breeding box. Trixie will look about to burst when she’s ready to give birth. She gets puffy and develops a dark spot (if only it were this easy for humans). It’s then time to put her in the breeding box.

(Ironic. She’s already … well, never mind).

Once she gives birth (it can take six hours!) remove her from the breeding box. Keep the fry separated until they’re too big to become a snack.

2.     How do fish mate?

photo credit: jonasflanken via photopin cc
photo credit: jonasflanken via photopin cc

There are videos on YouTube. But I’m on a work computer and I like my job.

Live-bearing fish are easy to breed. The girl (let’s call her Aurora) is larger, and the guy? Lance, we’ll say, is smaller, and had a rod-shaped fin. (Insert pause for giggles and remarks). Lance’s junk is known as gonopodium, which I swore was what an OB/GYN stood behind when addressing the press.

OK, OK … I watched the video. See it here. I’m on the fence on this one. Clearly there’s no consent, and it’s clear this boy fish (Ignacio, for sure) doesn’t love Dianna. He’s just chasing tail.

3.     Are there McDonald’s in Switzerland?

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc
photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Hear that? That’s the sound of the sweat on my brow drying. Finally.

There are 157 McDonald’s in Switzerland. The first opened in Geneva in 1976. I was only 5, and the closest I’d come to Switzerland would be a hot cup of Swiss Miss hot cocoa. In Switzerland, they have a burger called The Prime, which costs 10.90 in Swiss Francs.

That’s $11.29 in American bucks. We could get, like, 10 McDoubles here for that. The Prime comes with traditional mountain cheese, bacon, coleslaw, arugula, and sauce. But also there in the land of watches and Tamara Gerber, a Big Mac costs $7.37 American bucks.

Did you know there’s a Big Mac Index to tell what they cost around the world? Why mess with the NASDAQ when you have the Big Mac Index?

4.     How many people are in The Who?

photo credit: Tony Di Messi via photopin cc
photo credit: Tony Di Messi via photopin cc

The Who, part of the British Invasion of the 1960s, began with four members, and currently have four. Other endeavors for them included the banjo and French horn. They were known as The Confederates and The Detours, and became The Who in 1964.

The band’s iconic lineup included four men: Roger Daltrey (lead vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar), John Entwistle (bass) and Keith Moon (drums). My favorite song by The Who is “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and not just because it’s the CSI Miami theme song and Emily Procter and everything.

5.     Is there a law for how much space you should leave between you and the car in front of you?

photo credit: Lotus Carroll via photopin cc
photo credit: Lotus Carroll via photopin cc

Q: What’s obscure and gets ignored more than a Jacksonville Jaguars season-ticket billboard?

A: Any law about how much space to leave between you and the car in front of you.

Bastards Folks trail me so close I can tell what they had for lunch from their breath. I’ve had cars so far up my tailpipe I swore they were there to steal my catalytic converter. I’ve had someone ride my bumper so hard I felt they should have cuddled me afterward.

(Hear me, Harriet?)

There are two-, three- and four-second rules for safe following distance. It states that you should find a fixed object on the side of the road, and count two, three or four seconds until you reach that object.

(Adjusted, of course, for road conditions, visibility, tonnage of your vehicle, and whether you wear a slick pair of cleats while driving.)

But how likely is it you’ll rear-end someone while you’re trying to figure your tonnage and count seconds between the car in front of you and you. You’ll wind up right up behind that car, all up in the tailpipe. Just like a pair of turtles.

You know … wrestling.

Or, mating. Whatever.

driving quote

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51 thoughts on “Go Ask Daddy About Small Fries, and Swiss Arches

  1. Yay, love today’s topics, esprecially the fish called anything but Wanda.

    And the McD Barbie 🙂 I know fast food is crazy expensive around here. Not that fine cuisine would be cheap. When working for SBUX we despised the Big Mac Index – we created our own: Latte Index.
    Thanks for mentioning me. Over Martina Hingis, even. So honored!

    Bastards should observe any distance that prevents them from pumping into each other. Also curious passerbys should mind their own business and not bump into their fellow
    gazers. Thousands of annoyed traffic jam participants will be grateful. Would have been grateful, I mean. Lost a %&/(ç? hour on the freeway yesterday…

    1. It was a good batch, wasn’t it?

      There was a McDonald’s near Clemson University years ago staffed by a band of McD Barbies. I figured since you pay dearly for things like graham crackers, a Quarter Pounder probably ain’t cheap, either.

      Big Mac Index is more of a language I can understand than Latte Index, Tamara.

      Well, you know … Martina. It’s, been a while.

      If everyone drove exactly like I do, the world would be a better place. Except for American junk food in Switzerland. Thanks, Obama.

  2. Better she sees it on a fishing trip with you than, IDK, the class trip to the zoo. Only it was otters, not fish. Between that and the art museum, 2nd grade was quite a shocking year for M and his class.

    1. Yeah, with primates or jungle cats there are probably sound effects, too. Or water-born mammals. Taking second graders to a place with any statue that has boobs is just asking for trouble.

  3. Great post Eli! Thanks for the chuckles!! I wasn’t blessed with my own children and I sure enjoy reading about your stories with yours!! Have a wonderful day! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  4. Oh, thank you for ending with wise words from Dave Barry.

    (I’m glad my children are all grown, and have tough questions from their offspring to answer. I’m sure the bum steers I gave them will come in handy.)

    1. Dave Barry isn’t quoted nearly enough around here.

      I’m approaching 250 questions in the hopper – I just can’t keep up! You should write about some of the bum steers that got you through the years, Yvonne!

    1. Nicole, you could even have coffee with Roger. He’s the poster boy for a coffee machine company (unfortunately not associated with SBUX), and he wouldn’t take your money. He has enough of his own, plus he’s a really decent guy. We’re mighty proud of him!

  5. I laughed loud enough at the fish video that my husband had to lift his eyes from his paper. I mentioned something about “chasing tail” and just now made it back to comment.
    My husband thanks you for your brave journey into explaining the birds and the, er, fishes to your girls 😉

      1. Just like high school – I do the writing, and some other dude gets lucky! (Coach Daddy with the assist, though).

        Thanks Michelle – glad to be part of your Fridays!

  6. Those silly fish…

    I’m not a fan of tailgating, either. I *try* to leave space between my vehicle and the one I’m following… But there’s usually somebody who thinks that weaving in and out of traffic will get them places faster who cuts in. I like waving at them as we’re at the same stoplight a mile later. 🙂

    1. There’s something fishy about them.

      I love those cutter-inners. It’s nice that you wave to them at the stoplight … most people would use far fewer fingers to salute them, Kim!

  7. In school I was taught that you should count one second for every 10MPH you’re doing. So if you’re going 50mph, it should take 5 seconds for you to pass the stationary object the car in front of you passed. Of course, I always end up counting to 10, but that’s just to calm myself down about the idiot with his hood up my tailpipe…

    1. That’s a lot of math to configure when you’re driving, isn’t it Scott? And I think George Carlin said it best: “Anyone who drives faster than you is an idiot, and everyone who drivers slower than you is a moron.”

  8. Oh, so many fun things today – I have so many comments I don’t know where to start.
    I will say that I’m guilty of tailgating people (right on their bumper!!!) when they are idiots and turn in front of me making me slam on my brakes and then don’t even drive the speed limit – I’m super classy when I drive!! (and by that I mean I yell a lot:)
    And, now I want to go study the Big Mac index – I happen to love Big Macs and wish they were suitable for dinner every day!!!

    1. This one was kind of loaded, wasn’t it? You know, it’s a speed ‘limit,’ not speed ‘minimum,’ Kim! haha. I am not so much a yeller than a horn-honker.

      I also greet those angry glares with a “shhhh” with a finger in front of my lips. One guy pretended to shoot me with his finger after I did that. Hardcore!

      Wait – Big Macs *aren’t* suitable for dinner every day? They’re … magical.

  9. Hilarious – quite possibly my favorite Go Ask Daddy yet. I’m disturbed that you posted the fish video after all. I’m more disturbed that I watched the whole damn thing looking for the, uh, special fin. Some part of my brain did not progress past pre-pubescent boy (no offense).
    I agree on the driving second rule…way too much math when I’m operating heavy machinery. I go with “way the hell far away” as my rule. That’s what I intend to tell my Daughter about keeping distance…IF her Father ever lets her drive, that is. That’s a whole other story.

    1. Thanks Lisa! I caved to the sensationalism of fish erotica. The question is, did you mutter encouragement under your breath for Ignacio?

      Pre-pubescent boyhood is a tough, dark, twitchy time.

      If I can clearly read the license plate ahead of me, I’m too close. That qualifies as “way the hell away,” probably. I think dad restrictions on daughter driving out to be a post!

  10. some of our more dangerous roads actually have these big markers painted on the road (called chevrons) at 3-4 second intervals. Handy guide, eh?
    I grew up on a farm with chickens, pigs, cows and horses. Oh, and lots of barn cats. I don’t need to watch that fish mating video — I’ve seen more than enough. We did have 2 dragonflies land on our beach blanket this summer though. the kids thought that was pretty cool. they kept trying to poke them apart.
    Kinda like how they react when their dad and I kiss. because…eeeewwww! ha

    1. Hey, Canada’s cool with the chevrons. Americans would probably think they mean “drive faster.”

      You had plenty of animal planet in your childhood then. Especially the cats, I’d imagine, but then, I don’t know how pigs get on. They didn’t actually *do* it in the video, it was just the wooing of the fish.

      If you can call it that. I kept hearing Ignacio saying, “look, mami … you FINE.” Dragonfly love seems so impersonal. Don’t you think?

    1. Thanks Rachael! It was a blast to compile – some are just like that. I pick them at random from the list, and roll with it, so the fish and mating things came together … naturally.

  11. Hi Eli. Also one of my faves. As I watched the video my mind asked, “why do you keep watching this?” Ignatio is quite the horn-dog (fish). Tailgaters p me off especially on the speed trap roads around me. You can get a ticket going 1 over. My greatest revenge is seeing one of these idiots pulled over a couple miles ahead. I wave.

    1. Glad you liked this one too! I need to see what’s in it and bottle it up a bit. I’d like to make it happen again.

      Ignatio is … persistent, isn’t he? This happens all over the animal kingdom. You see it in humans all the time! I knew a guy in high school who got his dream girl to go out with him with dogged persistence. I think she just got tired of swimming away.

      I always hope for a cop when someone like that comes along! I kept honking at a dude who was on his phone while driving. Must have been at the next level of candy crush or something. He nearly crushed my bumper. I just wanted a friendly visit from a friendly officer, nothing more.

  12. I don’t know which of the fish I feel more sorry for…that’s a whole lotta work! I love this post, Eli. It’s so funny and I especially love the question you opened the tail-gating sequence…..the Jacksonville Jaguars billboard? Sadly, it’s true…

    1. I didn’t even look around the tank to see if Ignacio (or Dianna) had other options. Leland and Trixie just got lucky in their little corner of the world, perhaps.

      Oh, the poor Jags. They should just move to London. I’m into ugly uniforms, so I love those helmets.

  13. Harriet is a cuddler.
    I got really distracted by The Who, and I lost most of my witty mating fish quips, but that’s for the best, isn’t it? It was nice when the question machine moved onto Switzerland.
    Which, by the way, is definitely a place to visit. For the chocolate and the mountains alone!
    (I’ve never been)

    1. She most definitely is.

      I think an entire generation (and maybe the one after it) got distracted by The Who. The fish didn’t, because they kept right on doing it. Go Ask Daddy is definitely affiliated with the Questions Without Borders association.

      Switzerland might be all that for chocolate and mountains, but I’ll leave the Big Macs to the locals.

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