My best friend, whom I have known since … well, for almost exactly ten years now … is a very, very intelligent woman. Intimidatingly intelligent to some, which always amuses because she is also a ridiculous nerd and about the same size as Ellen Page, and one day I am just going to keep her as my supersmart handbag dog and she won’t even be able to reach my face to slap me for it.
She is so abhorrently intelligent, in fact, that aside from making fun of her for
doing the devil’s own work working in pharmaceutical PR, the only thing I can hold over her is occasional instances where I’m even more of a terrible nerd than she is, and one of those arenas of superiority is deep sea fish.
Having been more or less raised by Gerald Durrell, Willard Price, and Sir David Attenborough, I am something of an unrepentant wildlife trivia bore, and I love deep sea weirdfish especially. This is not the entire reason I slept with that marine biologist but it may have been a contributing factor.
And my dear best friend continually mixes up the names of the Hatchet Fish and the Angler Fish, which any similarly dull fish nerd will tell you is pretty impressive when you consider that the Hatchet Fish (the deepwater, not the freshwater) looks like the drowned soul of a lost mariner transposed onto an axe head:
Whereas the group of fishes clumped ungainly together under the title “Angler Fishes” look an awful lot like the kind of horrors my subconscious will come up with if left alone with a litre of Benedictine and some H R Giger paintings:
While I was explaining the difference between “hideous ghost monster fish” and “terrifying mouthful of teeth with some useless males attached” to my dear best friend, I mentioned Viper Fish and the Fangtooth, which she also proceeded to mix up with each other.
In the hopes of sorting out this grievous fish-based error for my dearly-beloved best friend and also because I had a lot of novel-based work I wanted to avoid, I decided to rename the deep sea fishes to make them a little easier to identify for the fish-tarded of the internet:
Angler Fish to be renamed “OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT“, which is a handy mnemonic as I suspect it’s precisely how you’d react to having one shoved in your face.
The Viperfish, a deep sea fish with light-emitting photophores, teeth too big for its head, and a spine designed to cushion it from the impact of its attacks, will now be known as “ARGH FUCK OFF NO” for similar reasons.
Despite the accuracy of “Fangtooth” as a description (I mean, that’s pretty much the first thing you notice about them), after seeing a preserved one at the Natural History Museum‘s exhibition on the deep sea and being duly haunted by it for the next few days, I think this spike-mouthed monstrosity would be more memorable as merely the “NO“.
After all this excitement, the humble deep sea Hatchet-fishes must content themselves with an “AH, THAT’S BETTER“; one day I will get around to naming the other frankly traumatising denizens of the deep sea with more accurate names but until then Goblin sharks, the Vampire squid, the unearthly-looking Rat-tails, and all manner of bizarre shapes will have to carry on hanging like nightmares in the freezing water where I don’t have to look at them.