For millenia, humans have been content with just a few domesticated pack and pet animals. A camel was all a trader could ask for, a team of oxen were prized by a pioneer on the Oregon Trail, guinea pigs were kept for their delicate flavor. You would think that as the modern world supplanted the old, wild animals would be replaced with cuter, tamer versions– versions better adapted to city life. In some respects, this has been the case. The once cow-sized, flesh-eating raccoon has diminished in size to that of the adorable masked bandits with whom we are all familiar (though the caps made of their pelts have become much less impressive). And alligators and crocodiles have adapted to the rich ecosystem of sewers. But not all species have taken advantage of the changing world, and mankind, in our selfishness, has not stepped up to the task of domestication.
As a great lover of biodiversity, I knew that something must be done. I spent a good two years simply lobbying the scientific community, begging on bended knee for researchers to think of the animal kingdom, but I soon realized that these “scientists” were concerned only with Nair-ing monkeys and dressing them in jackets made of experimental fibers, or turning sweet country rabbits into painted harlots. The spectacle was, and is, sickening.
I struck out on my own. I thought of mammalia, reptilia, aves and amphibia… but they all seemed to be years ahead, domestically speaking. No… I needed to tame the craniata– the fish– for their own good. I began with the lowly hagfish. They seemed the most promising, with their two brains and four hearts. I started small, with toileting exercises, but it wasn’t long before we were on to high teas. The only real problem is that cucumber and watercress sandwiches tend to become soggy and fall apart in the ocean waves. Lampreys and myxini, however, were one heartburn after another. I only consider these partially domesticated, as they will slither onto your lap and enjoy being petted, but there is a high incidence among the two species of disappearing into the night, along with your vintage Harley Davidson. I admit, this is my own fault for trying to breed in a love of choppers and fringed leather chaps. This is the high price of being too successful at one’s endeavors, so keep it in mind. In the meantime, there are plenty of wild fish in the sea crying out for domestication, and clever readers should get to work at this immediately (after you receive the grant monies, of course).