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 Meine Leselupe

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Leselupe.de > Fremdsprachiges und MundART
Fishing for compliments
Eingestellt am 30. 11. 2014 23:03

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Holden was into fish. He caught them, studied them, and sometimes he smelled of them. Whenever we went out for a beer or two, he would talk endlessly about the various types of fishing-rods, he would lament the inadequacy of a particular brand of hooks and he would brag about the pike he once caught. He also kept saying that he would love to catch a perch, but that they were either too smart or too rare to be caught. I remember him saying once that he baited his hooks with pieces of sticklebacks, but that the supply was low and that demand was high, so he had changed back to artificial lures, despite the poor results. He had posters of fish at his place, and one night, when we got plastered in his kitchen, he stood up, pointed at a certain poster and proudly sad that the fish on that poster was a so called lung fish and could stay underwater for more than twenty-four hours just because of the fine quality of ist gills. I faked interest and curiosity and he took it as an incentive to dwell on the subject. His beed sheets depicted a shoal of herring and I failed to understand his infatuation.

I myself was an ornithologist. But I wasn’t mad about birds. I didn’t have more than two posters of them in my apartment nor did I ever talk much to Holden about my job at the bird sanctuary or at the ornithological station. I would have felt awkward telling him about my final thesis on bird migration or about my rather peculiar thoughts on ospreys. I knew that he wouldn’t have understood my contempt for golden orioles, birds with beautiful black and yellow feathers. The one thing I remember, though, is us walking through Central Park, when, all of a sudden, he grabbed my arm and said, Look, a sparrow. When I looked at the specimen I immediately burst into laughter and I had to sit down on a bench because my stomach started to hurt. He thought I was having an epileptic fit and said, What is it, Peter, what is it. When I got hold of myself I pointed at the bird and said, That, my friend, is not a sparrow, but a magpie. You don’t have a clue about birds, do you? I asked. No, he said, just like you don’t know a thing about fish.

The day I met her, I was giving a lecture at university. She came late and sat down in the front row, just as I was about to explain the delicate features of the heron. I remember her quite well. She was wrapped up in a black coat and she wore her red hair in plaits. I was a little distracted by her beauty, and I couldn’t really concentrate when I compared the lark’s hatchery with the hawk’s hatchery. I even mixed up their beaks, although they are quite different from each other. I ended the lecture ten minutes early and she came up to my desk. I am studying entomology, she said, and I need some information on the chiff-chaff. My knowledge concerning the chiff-chaff was rather limited, so I asked her out for dinner in order to have some time for research. I never asked why she wanted to know so much about the chiff-chaff if she was an entomologist, and I believe she liked me for not asking too many questions.

We got married two years later, on the day of the eclipse. I would call her my little beaver, and she nicknamed me kingfisher. On our honeymoon we flew to the Bismarck Archipelago. There we caught a glimpse of the Northern Fantail, or Rhipidura setosa. I told her that this tropical Fantail resembles the more familiar Grey Fantail in habits but that it is rather less active. The call of this bird is also similar but noticeably distinct, a fact I did not reveal to her since she hardly seemed to care. I climbed up a tree to see the cup-shaped nest. It was composed of fibre and strips of tea-tree bark, and the outside was covered with cobwebs. In the nest lay two eggs, creamy-white, each with a dark zone at the larger end. It was August, which took me by surprise, because the breeding season of the fantail usually lasts from October to January.

I don’t know why I hadn’t introduced Holden to her before. Maybe I was a little ashamed of him. Or maybe I couldn’t imagine them having a decent conversation, because he only bored people with his knowledge of fish. We went to the Shamrock, an Irish pub on 36th street, and before I had finished my first pint of Guinness, they were indulging in a profound and in-depth discussion about amphibians. She laughed heartily when he said something about frogs that can walk, crawl and fly. On our way home I asked her if she had noticed his fish scent and if it had bothered her. No, she replied, I don’t mind if he smells like fish, just like I wouldn’t mind if you smelled of birds. I told her that the scent of fish and the scent of birds are something completely different and I was a little annoyed by her ignorance. I kept arguing but she ended our conversation. Quite frankly, I think you’re giving this matter an urgency it hardly merits, she said. Maybe she was right.

In the third year of our marriage she wrote her dissertation. In it she presented her new evolutionary theory, which claimed that some billions of years ago, fish had gradually evolved into amphibians and had eventually become reptiles. The main emphasis of her dissertation was that her theory was pretty deviant from other, renowned theories. As the knowledge I had about those creatures wouldn’t have been of any help, she gave Holden a ring and made an appointment. She came home late and when she crawled under the sheets she smelled of herring. She knew that I was only pretending to be asleep and so she started caressing me. But I just couldn’t stand it. You stink, I said. Of course, she got angry, and when I pushed her out of bed, she said, What’s the matter with you? You smell like a bucket full of herring, I said. For a moment she stood beside the bed, aghast. Whiting, she said finally, it is not herring, it’s whiting. Then she went to the sitting room and slept on the couch.

Her meetings with Holden became more and more frequent and sometimes she would only come home only at dawn. I didn’t really mind because I, at the time, was doing some research on the Scarlet Honeyeater, or Myzonela sanguinolenta. I discovered that this specimen, also called the Bloodbird, appears in pairs or flocks in New South Wales during early spring and that, in the winter months, it is nomadic. It frequents flowering eucalypts, melaleucas and banksias, seeking insects and nectar. The male utters a succession of melodious tinkling notes, often heard during the midday heat of summer when most other birds are silent. The eggs can be white, with a faint pinkish tinge, spotted dull chestnut, reddish brown and purplish grey. I was quite immersed in my studies; sometimes I would not even notice her. Besides, I didn’t want to interfere with her studies and I thought it best to let her have some time for herself so that she could focus on her amphibians and reptiles.

Two months after she had handed in her dissertation she left me. She moved out on a bright Sunday morning. I didn’t really know what was going on. I’m moving in with Holden, she said. I was quite shocked. Why? I asked. Well, she said, Holden and I have so much in common. We are both down to earth and we share the same interests. He really makes me laugh, you know, and recently he said that when he is with me, he feels like a fish in water. And he was really helpful when I had to do my dissertation. It is almost unbelievable how much he knows about fish. And the way he cooks them. Marvellous. It is not that I don’t like you any more, Peter, it’s just that, well, sometimes it seems as if you and your birds have vanished into thin air, and it gets so difficult to talk to you about the things that happen on the face of this earth. I am sorry, Peter. She banged the door and she was gone.

I lost interest in birds. I didn’t know a Swift Parrot from a Swamp Parrot, as we ornithologists say and I couldn’t care less whether it was the Plum-capped Finch who ate the seeds of grasses or the Spotted-sided Finch. Nothing really mattered to me anymore. I met Holden once at the mall on 42nd street and he said that he was sorry, but that it was my fault as well. All you ever care about are your stupid birds, he said. I got really angry. You rotten eel, I said, you devious skate, you immature cod. He just laughed and walked away. I just couldn’t understand why she would live with a dolt like him, who only cared about whether a bird was edible or not and who praised fish as if they were some kind of superior creatures.

Two months later I bumped into her at university. She had become an authority in entomology and she sort of was my colleague. She told me that she was glad I had agreed on the divorce and that she was already planning to marry Holden. She still admired him for what he knew about fish and she said that she was into the study of fish herself now. When I told her that I had won a prize for a photography of the Bohemian Waxwing, or Bombycilla garrulus, she said, Aha, and changed the subject. When we parted she would neither kiss me goodbye nor would she give me a hug. She just left.

Yesterday I quit my job at university. I went to see Professor Caulfield and resigned. He was deeply moved and he said that he was sad to lose such an authority. He said that he hardly ever met anyone who fancied birds as much as I did. Oh, birds, I said, all they ever do is spread their wings and fly around. What are you going to do next? He asked. I’ve enrolled at Harvard, I said. You’ ve enrolled as a student? He wondered. What subject?

Ichthyology, I said.

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Dieses StĂŒckerl, CPMan,

krĂ€nkelt an beinahe denselben Kriterien wie die Kaba-Nummer: Der Ich-Protz hat einen „nachgeordneten“ Freund, der ihm das MĂ€dchen ausspannt, ohne dass man eigentlich so recht weiß, warum. Was einem dazu als ErklĂ€rung angeboten wird, ist ebenso dĂŒrftig und unglaubwĂŒrdig wie die Rahmen“handlung“ des Textes.

Der Autor versucht, mit allerlei Fachbegriffen und Fachwissen zu prunken, schaltet damit aber sofort das ggf. vorhandene Anfangsinteresse des Lesers an einer „Story“ aus. Falls im Ausnahmefall ein Leser ankommt, der weiß, dass man „Ornithologie“, „Entomologie“ oder „Ichthyologie“ auch in Übersee nicht direkt studieren kann und dass der Lungenfisch falsch dargestellt ist (er kann tagelang außerhalb des Wassers, immer aber in diesem leben), wird’s ein bisschen peinlich. Den „Fachmann“ sollte man wirklich nur dann heraushĂ€ngen lassen, wenn man seiner Sache ganz sicher sein kann.

Die Vorstellung, ein MĂ€dchen wĂ€re damit zu halten, dass es auch nach der Hochzeitnacht immer noch mit VortrĂ€gen ĂŒber fremde SchwĂ€nze, insbesondere denen exotischer Vögel, regaliert wird, ist ein wenig naiv. Insoweit kann man gut nachvollziehen, dass sich die Holde von der Thorie ab- und der Praxis zugewandt hat, Fischgestank hin oder her. Aber auch da scheint wundersamerweis‘ weniger das eine Rolle zu spielen, was einen mĂ€nnlichen Vertreter der Gattung homo sapiens wirklich ausmacht, denn trivialwissenschaftliche Sichten ĂŒber dies und jenes, im Grunde genommen an den Haaren Herbeigezogene („Dissertation“ sagt man zu einer Doktorarbeit eigentlich nur im deutschsprachigen Raum, wo man auf geschwollene Ausdrucksweise wert legt; in den USA nennt man sie leger PhD thesis).

MissglĂŒckt auch der Schluss. Wie schon gesagt – „Ichthylogie“ als fakultative Fachrichtung gibt’s nicht, nur Biologie mit einem Schwerpunkt „Fisch“ in der FĂ€cherauswahl. Doch was will uns der Schluss sagen? Will er eine Pointe sein und suggerieren, der Gehörnte versuchte, sein Geweih an den StĂ€mmen des Waldes einer neuen FakultĂ€t abzustreifen? Wo wĂ€re bei einem derart naiven Ansatz denn da der Witz?

Fazit: Ein mit Fach“wissen“ ĂŒberfrachteter und entsprechend langweiliger Text, der an der OberflĂ€che bleibt und nur insoweit VergnĂŒgen bereiten kann, als nicht die Requisite (obwohl sie es möchte), sondern das blutleere Endokrinium der Protagonisten exotisch erscheint.




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