We were innocently traipsing about Belfast Harbour, with no intention whatsoever of doing anything wrong, when we came upon this sign. Naturally, because we are anarchists at heart, a rebellion now buried beneath cholesterol-enhanced arteries and veins began to beat once again, our guilt-free lark potentially veering toward the dark side of human nature.
We suddenly wanted nothing more out of life than to climb on The Big Fish.
It seemed the perfect thing to do on a blustery afternoon in Northern Ireland. After all, this was a land where folks did not take kindly to edicts issued by others. And the Titanic had been built in this very harbor, and lots of people climbed on that thing. (Of course, many of them never climbed back off, but that’s a story for another time, a morality tale about how ships should not try climbing on The Big Iceberg.)
At the very least, our contemplation of miscreant behavior would result in a delightful anecdote we could share with our grandchildren at a later time, assuming we weren’t felled by snipers lining the perimeter, their marksman eyes searching for signs of fishy insurrection. (If they did open fire, at least two of us had a chance at survival, as we had been on the swim team in high school. We could call upon our ancient skills, diving into the water and backstroking our way to the other side of the harbor, where we could blend in with some type of drunken festival we could hear going on over yonder. After a rousing pub song or two, no one would notice our dripping clothes or the furtive glances we kept casting over our shoulders.)
In the end, though, common sense prevailed, a rarity with our mischievous quartet. We admired the fish, we took pictures of the fish, and we even dared touch the fish, going so far as to surreptitiously fondle the scales, searching for a good handhold to launch our ascent. But we did not mount the fish, despite the delicious yearning.
Later that night, perhaps aided by the rumblings of ale and pizza fighting for governance in my tummy, I dreamt of how my life could have been different had I experienced the illusory joy of a giant sea creature betwixt my legs. But some things are not meant to be…