There is nobody on earth who eats the right amount of fish. A fringe of piscetarians want to eat less to shed the last scales of their carnivorous guilt. Most people want to eat more in the hope that Omega 3 may delay their omega and all those fatty acids might clean the drain of their soul. We need to need. I’d be fine if I had a car, could speak English, got laid, prayed more, lost five kilos. For middle-class Westerners, we shiftless children of abundance, the barrel of wants must be scraped thoroughly if we’re to explain away the nagging hollow. Hence – I should eat more fish.
To want to eat more fish requires an extraordinary game of three-card-monty in which the individual must perform the cognitive sleight-of-hand to be both mark and con artist. The fish trick only works if the person in question sincerely believes they want to eat more fish while simultaneously doing everything in their power to ensure this never happens.
Because as soon as we do eat a satisfactory amount of fish and realise, with horror, that our bubbling well of self recrimination hasn’t run dry, our moods are still a mad roulette and the shadow of distance still hangs above our heart; then, my friend, the game is up. A terrible crack threatens to split our every assumption asunder – at least until we gum it up with some even more arcane ambition, maybe to eat more spirulina.
In Hampi I saw a bob-haired French hipster who was very far gone indeed. “Ooh, they have cornflakes with curd!” she told her friend, with all the desperate gusto of an ISIS-captured journalist reading lines to camera. “I’ll have cornflakes and curd with nothing, please!” she said to the waiter. The nothing she got in abundance.