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Tennessee Aquarium
by Sheila Moss

Being a long weekend, it seemed a shame to waste it, so we decided to visit the Tennessee Aquarium. I was not really sure that fish would be interesting, but -- what the heck - nothing else around here to do except fight the crowds at the shopping malls, and who wants to do that?

Turned out that the aquarium was a pretty nifty place. I've never seen so many fish in my life, all colors and sizes. The huge water tanks and large expanses of glass gave the feeling and illusion of being underwater. The fish were cooperatively fishy, swimming up to the glass and looking at me eyeball to eyeball…strange feeling. They almost seemed to enjoy interaction with people. Probably they were just wondering what kind of food I was.

Eventually, we came to an area called the "Delta.” Here is where the fish really became exotic. They were pink, blue, yellow, every color you can imagine! I didn't want to leave even though I secretly figured I could be getting pretty low on oxygen from being under the water for so long.

The jellyfish area was especially interesting. The jellyfish sort of swim around like small size umbrellas opening and closing gracefully. The largest collection was called "Moon Jellyfish.” They were really quite attractive -- I hardly minded being mooned at all.

There were so many types and varieties that it became impossible to keep track after a while. I hung around the Russian Sturgeon tank for quite a while hoping for a donation of caviar, but I guess they were planning a party of their own later. They never obliged.

Some lizards in an above-water display caught my attention. One ugly fellow looked at me from his perch on a tree branch and smiled. I think he wanted to get his picture taken. Probably working for tips. Another lizard had long claws and scurried up a tree. Boy, I'd hate to run into him in my back yard. Thank goodness, he was native to New Guinea. Remind me to never go to New Guinea.

The paddle fish were quite odd. They were pre-historic looking with long beak-like paddles for noses. Some of them swam with their mouths wide open, which caused the light to shine through their bodies and light up the inside of their mouths as they swam.

Also interesting were the piranha, which were attired in their party wear, complete with gold glitter sprinkles. Don't know if they remembered to brush their teeth or not, but I sure wasn't gonna be the one to ask ‘em.

We ended up watching the fish being fed. The ducks and turtles liked this part even better than the tourists and mooched up much of the minnow and squid. Those critters seem to eat better food than we do. Hate to pick up the tab when they dine out.

So, the day at the aquarium was a great success. My fingers may be a bit wrinkled from being under water so long. But I can hardly wait to go back -- probably the mental effects of oxygen deprivation.


Sheila Moss is a humor columnist from Tennessee. Her comedy includes funny stuff about big hair, junk cars, country music, football, and even sensible topics once in a while. She has been published by Voyageur Press and McGraw Hill, and writes a weekly column for The Daily News of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Visit Sheila’s website: Humor Columnist.com.

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