0

Pike Place Market’s fish can fly, but could they please keep their distance?

My adventure with Seattle’s flying fresh salmon

Curt Yeomans

Curt Yeomans

Fish is not something I’m a fan of.

It stinks. I mean it really smells of the sea. And normally you’d say “Oh but the sea is good clean air. It’s a wonderful smell.”

No, it’s not. It’s salty and in big cities, it smells like sewage. That’s not a pleasant smell.

And then there are the faces on the fish. Their faces have this frozen expression of shock that allows you to almost hear the dead fish going “Oh my God, I’m dead!”

But for some reason, flying fresh fish don’t bother me so much.

I wouldn’t touch a fish to save my life. I mean, fresh out of the water, these things are slimy and gross. It’s even worse when you go to scale them. When I would go fishing as a kid, I would insist on wearing surgical gloves because I detested the texture of their skin.

My dad would just shake his head and go, “Well, that’s my son. Too scared to touch a fish.”

I don’t care, though. Fish are disgusting creatures, in my opinion.

However, I was entranced by this one shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market because the workers would entertain customers by throwing big salmon to each other. It’s in the corner, under the neon clock that many a tourist has stopped to take pictures of.

It’s a block over from a Starbucks, and a couple of blocks over from another Starbucks.

But I digress.

It takes a great deal of skill to throw a fish over a long distance and actually have someone catch it like it was a baseball.

Scratch that. Make it “like it was a football.” Baseballs are small and these fish were big like a football being caught by a 7-year-old.

These suckers were easily at least a foot in length. You’ve got to really know what you’re doing, and have a lot of strength to throw these fish.

I just kept lurking and waiting for opportunities to take photos of the workers throwing fish and interacting with the crowds.

Of course, they kept saying, “We love throwing fish for you guys, but we love selling fish to you guys even more.”

Most of us were tourists, however, so we weren’t likely to buy up any salmon to take home with us. On top of that, I have a culinary aversion to fish, so you know I wasn’t going to buy any of that.

Plus, where would I keep it if I did like eating little fishies? How would I cook it on vacation? How would I transport it home?

Yeah, I was so not going to buy any of that.

But still I stayed, to their dismay. I felt a little guilty because I was making these guys entertain me like a group of trained seals, but I was more interested in getting more photos of them throwing the fish.

And that is why I should probably never return to Pike Place Market.

Curt Yeomans is the digital journalist for the Henry Daily Herald and Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via email at cyeomans@news-daily.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.