Questions Answered #2

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In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Question 2: Alex (a co-worker of mine) makes a statement, or headline, or summat, rather than asking a question. But taking it as a topic title, I’ll have a bash.

Mackerel: an intimate portrait

Their shoaling displays render them stunning flashes of darting slivers, but there are many other reasons why the mackerel remains distinct amongst fish. Whilst they are the only fish that uses an inbuilt ability to locate and seek out transvestites, they are also adept at whipping up a lovely piquante tomato sauce with little to no preparation. Granted these skills have played a large part in their downfall, yet the life of these compact little fish remains fascinating.

Their interest in transvestites becomes apparent from an early age and can lead to violent, and sometimes deadly, ‘territory’ battles. Regardless, these battles remain a stunning sight, one of the most impressive displays in the animal kingdom, as these hugely energetic fish hurl themselves at anything in a feather boa. This fascination remains for the rest of their life and it’s not uncommon for large numbers of them to become hooked on this lifestyle. Literally.

As they grow older the mackerel show an amazing tendency towards group activities, preferring to be in close contact with their kin at all times. With this growth in the group dynamic, their natural tomato sauce preparation skills start to develop, although scientists are still unable to determine the exact method, with the precise quantities and contents of the sauce still a mystery. However, recent studies suggest that the locale may play a large part in determining the particular flavour of the sauce, with everything from a slightly herby sauce as seen in shoals from the Mediterranean, through to spicy hot sauces from shoals found off the coast of Mexico. Each one of these tiny fish can produce enough sauce to sustain itself through the winter months and, when grouped together, the mackerel can often end up literally swimming in the stuff.

Of course, the life of a mackerel isn’t without dangers. There are stories of groups of mackerel losing their way completely, only to be rediscovered when they are well past their best. In this area, ageism is rife and whilst mackerel have a naturally long “shelf-life”, they still suffer, although not as badly as their brethren the tuna. The tuna, in a turn of events that have stunned geneticists around the world, have developed a highly advanced method of mayonnaise and sweetcorn production, however this has had the disastrous effect of rendering their popularity even higher, rather than, as had been hoped, aiding their conservation.

And so, as our story draws to an end, the mackerel, content and nicely marinated, awaits “the key”. The coming of the key signals a noble end for the life of a mackerel, and is accepted and embraced as time turns onward. Mackerel can lie dormant for some months, patiently biding their time until the air rushes in and they take a final headlong plunge onto some hot buttered toast.

The life of a mackerel is at once fascinating, and at times bemusing. To this day, scientists still do not understand their attraction to feathers, nor their ability to produce tomato sauce (for the mackerel have no greenhouses) but they remain a beguiling and beloved member of their natural habit, the larder.