A Fishy Philosophy

The garlic, pepper and browned butter’s foreplay with the light breeze , the smell of fresh fish, salty sea water and the entire picturesque shore of the Cuttler village enunciated an exotic dining experience for us. While the rest of the fishermen trotted to their homes, the fisher family of the inn we lived in was bustling around preparing dinner for us while we sat on wooden couches overlooking the beautiful Maine scenery, taking in the humble village, the sea and the little boats, absorbing warmth from a little fire in the corner. The catch of the day was peacefully sleeping in the cast iron skillet bathing itself in the sublime heat of that open fire…

Wait. Let me retake this – This is a philosophy post. Of course, I haven’t turned from a chef to a philosopher (and I assure am not even dreaming of turning into one..I seldom follow the rule of practice what you preach so I wouldn’t bother to go there). But I came across this thought online and also while on a discussion with an acquaintance. I felt I  would relay it in form of a story and leave the moral to you. So to continue the same, here we go…


So here we are sitting in this beautiful fishing village, the fish being roasted by the innkeeper-cum-fisherwoman painting the sunset, the little village in our memories as our bellies scream in hunger for the promising dinner.

A boat was docked in a tiny Maine cove from where a bunch of the fishermen were returning while waving to the innkeeper’s husband who went out to greet them.

My friend complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

“Not very long.” they answered in unison.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?”

The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs.
We have a full life.”

And just like all of us swell pompously from the paper degrees we have achieved from world-class colleges, my friend puffed up like a balloon and interrupted-

“I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!
You should start by fishing longer every day.
You can then sell the extra fish you catch.
With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?”, asked the local piscators.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.
Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.You can then leave this little village and move to Boston , Los Angeles , or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

The locals eyed them with a twinkle and asked, “How long would that take?”

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years.” replied my friend.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered my friend, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the fishermen.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”

“With all due respect sir, but that’s exactly what we are doing now. So what’s the point wasting twenty-five years?” asked the Fishermen.

…………..and that’s it. After THAT we just enjoyed our chilled beer and devoured the freshly fried fish, bones and all. 



Add yours →

  1. Hi Viraj, love this story , have read it in a book may be Who moved my cheese or Fish , dont remember which one, but an interesting one and equally or rather more interesting is your post , thoroughly enjoyed reading it….

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