What Were the Chances?

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TRIGGER WARNING. If there are any vegans or fish lovers (meaning those who oppose fishing not those who enjoy a nicely prepared fish dinner) reading this be advised this piece discusses the consumption of fish. Consider yourself warned.

Arizona is not a state renowned for its seafood. One would need to cast a line several hundred miles long to “fish” the ocean while within the borders of the state. But they can import seafood, which is fine with me. Albeit hard to find restaurant that understands how to make good calamari and fish and chips.

And yet we found such a place. But this is not a Yelp review, it is more another example of how my mind seems to work a little bit differently than the other diners who were at the restaurant as we enjoyed our meal.

While they were likely engaged in conversation about the chef’s ability or the quality of the food or their choice of wine, I was wondering about the path my Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna (seared to perfection I might add) came to arrive on my plate.

The part of this journey that interested me the most was not the last few legs from the fish market to the restaurant. What interested me the most was how this tuna, newly fertilized somewhere in the ocean, survived the odds and ended up on my plate.
So off to the oracle of Google to learn about the viability and survivability of tuna eggs. The numbers are intriguing.

In one research page, it is estimated the Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) expels some forty million (40,000,000) eggs into the water. I won’t go into the details of tuna lovemaking; this is not that kind of blog.

Of this number it is estimated that two will reach adulthood. Think about that for a moment. 40,000,000 are expelled into the water. 39,999,998 either never hatch or are eaten by predators before they reach adulthood.

It takes two years for the fish to reach full adult maturity. Those who manage to live to adulthood can expect to live another five years assuming they aren’t netted or caught on a line.

So the lovely dark red slices of tuna sitting on my dish came from a creature that defied the odds, survived predation, swam in the ocean, dove the depths, witnessed a light-pollution free sky, endured storms, and then somehow managed to end up in Scottsdale Arizona where I chose them from the menu.

Well, technically I didn’t choose them. I picked from the menu and the chef chose the particular fish. But once it arrived at our table, we were forever joined.

I like to think they were at the end of their life cycle. Still viable and healthy but facing the inevitable end of their time on this earth.

I thanked the fish—silently of course, my family already thinks I am weird enough—for joining together and helping me extend my life. And look forward to another day when I meet another such creature who defied the odds and is likely swimming the ocean as I write this.

The circle of life may seem harsh and cruel but there’s no reason why it can’t be well-prepared and tasty.

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