Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | August 2, 2006

A Tuesday with Dory

Try explaining hockey to a fish.

Not just a fish, but a really famous fish.

Not just a really famous fish, but a really famous fish with a short-term memory problem.

It’s not easy. Especially when you’re a shark.

That’s what I had to do when I woke up one Tuesday morning. Explain hockey to a really famous fish with a short-term memory problem. And that’s what I was when I woke up one morning: A shark.


I don’t know how I became one. All I know is that I went to bed stoned and woke up one morning swimming in some ocean as a shark. At least, I think I was a shark. My movements were so powerful and effortless that I could have only been a shark. My senses were so heightened, I could see a hundred times better than I usually do—underwater at that—and I could detect even the most imperceptible trace of electrical charge emanating from every moving body in the ocean. I had to be a shark.Besides, when Dory–the really famous fish I had to explain hockey to–turned a coral corner and nearly swam into me, she let out a blood-curdling scream: “Shark!!!”

I had to be a shark.

Anyway, Dory, who starred opposite Nemo in Finding Nemo, did a quick 180 and was about to race off when I hauled her in with a pair of shark fins that I was surprisingly adept at using (I had to be a shark. Try being adept at using shark fins if you were a clown fish).

“Hey, easy Dory. You’re not my breakfast,” I told her. I felt her quivering and patted her lightly.

“I’m here to explain to you what hockey is.”

She looked at me quizzically.


“Hockey? To me? But why?” she asked. (She does sound like Ellen DeGeneres in real life).

Yeah. Why, indeed. Why in the world should I explain hockey to a fish who suffers from short-term memory loss? I know I woke up one morning with the mission to explain to Dory what hockey is but it’s the why I don’t know. I was about to ponder about the purpose of it all when I realized: Wait a minute. I’m a shark! How does that make sense? It doesn’t. So why try to make sense out of explaining hockey to a blue tang? I didn’t even try. I just cursed the existentialists.

“Look, just go along for the ride and listen,” I told her.

“Listen to wha—shark!!!” she screamed. Boy, this was going to be tough.

I hauled her in with my shark fins and did the you’re-not-my-breakfast routine to calm her down again and said I had to explain hockey to her. She asked why and I cooked up a reason pretty fast, lest her memory problems seize her again and she goes yelling shark! for all to hear.

“To try and cure your memory problems,” I explained. “Maybe if you can listen to me talk about hockey and retain what I teach you, it would be a big step.”

“Cool,” she said. “What makes you an authority on hockey?”

“I’m a sportswriter,” I told her.

“You’re a shark,” she said. (Hah! I told you I was a shark).

“Well, I went to bed a sportswriter, I just happened to wake up a shark for some reason,” I answered.

“Oh. Okay.” Amazing. She swallowed the whole explanation hook, line and sinker. Although I really didn’t think the words hook, line and sinker were popular hereabouts.

So we swam off and I started talking with a tang by my shark cheek and I began explaining: “You see, hockey is…”

“Shark!!!” she yelled. Here we go again.

Yep, hauled her in again. Yep, explained to her again what I really was going to do.

“Oh,” she said, cheerfully. “Okay.”

“Okay,” I said, talking with much more urgency and speed right now. “You see, hockey is much like wrestling. Except they allow you to use sticks.”

“Now, repeat what I just said to you,” I told her.

“Hockey is much like wrestling,” she said, turning to look at me. “Except th—shark!!!” Hoo-boy.

Yep, the whole routine again.

“Look, Dory,” I told her once she stopped trembling. “You gotta focus girl. You’re not going to get cured if you keep losing focus.”

“I can’t help it,” she said. “I try my best not to forget but it really doesn’t work.”

“Focus on my voice Dory,” I said. “Focus on my voice.”

I must have sounded really hypnotic because she just kept nodding and her eyes grew loony big while looking at me.

“Okay, I’ll try,” she said, slowly.

So we swam off again and I started from the top. You could tell that she was trying to focus so hard because her body would shake spastically every time she was losing a grip on her memory. I kept encouraging her to just focus on my voice and she would nod and grit and really try her best that you’d have to feel a tinge of pity and want to cuddle her if you only saw her.

“Also, in hockey, they allow you to use head gear so your brain doesn’t get banged a lot and you don’t fall into a coma,” I told her. “So in a sense, if boxers want to inflict pain and earn a lot of bucks, they’d be a lot safer if they switched to hockey. You understand so far?”

“Y-y-y-y-e-e-e-p-p-p,” she said, really digging deep into her will power.

She calmed a bit, her body softened and she started to smile. Then, she turned to me and, yelled: “Shark!!!” Then she raced off.

I counted to 10. I had to. Not only was I starting to lose my patience, she also started to look like breakfast. By the time I had gotten to 10, I managed to catch up with her, give her the whole shitty routine—with less zeal this time—and calm her down.

“I’m sorry. This must be really hard for you,” she said in an agonizingly sweet and pitiful tone. “Thanks for sticking it out with me. And please, don’t give up on me. I know it’s kinda frustrating, but don’t give up on me.”

My shark heart melted.

“I’ll really try my best this time,” she promised.

And so, off we were again. And this time, we were really making progress. I kept rattling off explanations and she kept repeating them. Pretty soon, she was catching my drift.

“So, hockey’s like the Royal Rumble, right? Except that everyone’s grouped into two teams,” she said.

“Yep. And, instead of pinfalls, you win by trying to sneak in a puck through a goal every now and then.”

“And the goal is guarded by some goalie guy, right?” she asked.

“Yep.”

“And you can whack him too?”

“Yep.”

“Cool,” she said. “Hey, you know what? I think I’m getting cured! I really think I am. I’m thinking clearly now!”

She was so excited, like a kid who wanted a red bike for Christmas and got it. She swam around, flipping her fins wildly and telling me everything I taught her about hockey. And then she stopped and stared at me.

Uh-oh.

“Hey, shark, you think if there’s ever a Finding Nemo 2, I’ll still be on it?” Whew.

“Why not?” I asked her.

“Well, now that you cured me, how am I supposed to be effective with my role as a fish with short-term memory problems?”

“Hey,” I said. “It’s acting, Dory. You don’t need to be a vampire to play Count Dracula.”

“But you see, I was such a natural for the role, that’s why they gave it to me. I really didn’t have to act. If I tried to act now, I might do it badly. Critics might call me a bad actress,” she wailed.

“Hey, easy, Dory, calm down,” I said.

“First of all, bad actors are in vogue in Hollywood. Ask any producer out there, they’d tell you that. Second, if it’s a sequel, you’re not expected to do good anyway. Sequels are supposed to stink.”

“Besides, what are you to do with all your fame and good acting, if you’ll keep forgetting them anyway?”

“I have reminders in my house. Posters. Fan mail. They remind me,” she said.

“Yes, but isn’t it better this way? When you don’t have to be reminded? When you can swim around the ocean always knowing you’re famous?”

“Hey, you know what? You’re right!” she said.

She swam in gleeful circles and I watched her, like a proud father who’d just seen his child graduate from kindergarten.

“I am cured!” she sang, going in circles and more circles, swishing up, spiraling down, turning round and round until she bumped into me.

“I’m cur—shark!!!”

I didn’t bother to chase her this time.

(Moral of the story: Never explain hockey to a fish. Especially a really famous fish. Especially a really fam… What the heck, you know the drill. And another: If you think you’re a shark, you probably are.)

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