Aquarium | Central Arkansas | 2015

I always try to find characteristics shared between humans and other species. Dogs express joy; cats exude self-centeredness; parrots maintain a nervous chattiness. But fish? They’re harder to categorize. Sure, they like to swim and eat (we do, too). But unlike us, they don’t emote. Or that’s what I thought until I stared eye-to-eye with Gloomy Gus (in photo). Immediately, I could sense an overwhelming disgust. But not with his meager sprinkling of food, or his watery imprisonment, or the dismal state of the world. No. Instead, he was disgusted with adult humans, and with me in particular. He’d look at me and roll his eyes in a very exaggerated fashion. Extremely judgmental. Then he’d glide over to a group of fifth graders and gleefully perform flips and blow bubbles. Then he’d return to me and roll his eyes in distaste. His behavior convinced me that fish do indeed share a characteristic with humans — cheeky rudeness.