Amy Roberts: A surprising fish story
“Nothing surprises me anymore.” It’s a common refrain, usually doled out by those of a certain age, one where an ample amount of life experience is met with a dash of cynicism and a dollop of “I’ve seen and heard it all.”
There are times I worry I’m nearing that stage. No matter how absurd or unbelievable something is, often I just can’t seem to lift my eyebrows more than halfway. Unbelievable absurdity simply isn’t that surprising anymore. We see and hear it every day when we watch or read the news and interact with other humans. The problem is, though, I kind of like being surprised. I want to be a little taken aback. Maybe it’s naïve, but I think a little flabbergast is good for us, a reminder to stretch our imagination beyond the boundaries it is familiar with. Given this, I tend to Google phrases like “weird news” and purposefully seek content that gives my eyebrows a full-stretch workout.
This was accomplished last week when I read an article about police begging the public to stop calling them about a fish. When police in Cape Cod were inundated with emergency calls, the Wareham Department of Natural Resources in Massachusetts explained it had bigger fish to fry and posted this message to its social media pages:
“We are aware of a sunfish in Broad Cove. We have checked on it, and it is doing normal sunfish activities. Its swimming. It is not stranded or suffering. The sunfish is FINE. Don’t be jealous just because it’s not swimming weather anymore! PLEASE STOP CALLING THE POLICE DEPARTMENT ABOUT THIS SUNFISH!!”
Even though we live in a town where every week in this very paper, you’ll find mention of a police report involving wildlife — usually a moose sitting in someone’s yard — I still found myself surprised that people would call 911 to report spotting a fish in the ocean. Are we that far removed from reality and the natural world that filing a police report seems like an acceptable course of action after spotting a fish in water or a moose in the mountains?
It is my sincere hope that the next time the Park City Police Department or Summit County Sheriff’s Office receive calls about a deer or a bobcat or a moose, they post to a social media page: “Stop calling 911 when you spot wildlife doing normal wildlife activities. Don’t be jealous just because you have to work and animals get to spend their day just bumbling about! If the animal is not actively eating a small child or otherwise endangering your life, we are not interested in taking your call.”
Unfortunately, this hope is about a month too late for a moose who once moseyed around Prospector. She had been spotted in the neighborhood for several days before the state Division of Wildlife Resources sent officers to tranquilize and relocate her somewhere in central Utah. It was a decision that seemed both odd and sad to me. Though there was no DNA test, presumably it was the same moose I’d encountered a number of times in early September. I live in Prospector and for many days I’d see her amble about as I walked my dogs, or notice her snoozing in the shade in someone’s yard. One day, my walk was delayed due to the moose and her juvenile calf eating apples off the tree in my front yard. I didn’t call the police; I told the dogs their walk would have to wait and took pictures from the safety of my porch. It seems rather unfair that the moose now has to live in someplace like Fillmore just because she was doing normal moose activities.
Seeing wildlife in the wild is something that shouldn’t surprise us. And while it’s no longer surprising that people call the police to report the sighting, it is silly.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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