Humor by Mark Bazer

This is an important message for people who manage, sit on the board of, or in any other way play a prominent role in the operation of large-scale metropolitan aquariums.

We're talking the New England Aquarium, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Gorton's Home for Wayward Fish . . . those kind of joints.

If you are not in the aquarium line of work, please feel free to move on to the next article. I think it's about when the next iPhone may or may not come out.

But for the great majority of you who are in the aquarium game, listen up. Because if you don't, you may be doomed.

Because you have a problem. It's a big problem, but it's also a simple one.

Unlike every other kind of museum, you have made the grave error of erecting a physical, glass barrier between People and the Stuff People Are There to See.

That is, the fish.

This can create a highly problematic experience. How many times, for example, have you been at the aquarium and marveled, "That fish looks just like me!" only to realize it's your reflection?

This kind of thing simply does NOT happen to your competition.

You may not be able to touch the paintings at the art museum (that policy should change, of course), but at least there's nothing getting in the way of your view of them.

Even today's zoos, home to giant mammals that wouldn't think twice about eating people, don't put their exhibits behind glass. (Snakes are an exception, but, I believe, they're only behind glass because of their terrible odor.)

Yes, some museums, like the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, N.Y., do have a lot of exhibits behind glass. But they also have a lot of bats on hand with which to break the glass.

Now, for many years, the aquarium has been able to get away with its arcane way of doing things. But we live in a high-definition age, an age in which people have bigger and bigger TVs, an age in which our computers have Retina displays! Whatever Retina displays are!

Plus, at home: no admission price, no parking fees, no gift shop where your kids make you buy something they will never touch again.

The bottom line is watching fish on your screens at home will soon (probably by next week) be a more realistic experience than gazing at them through a smudged glass wall at the aquarium.

"Hey, kids. Want to stay at home and watch fish for five minutes on TV? Then we can buy you gum or something."

"Yay! Yay! You're the best dad ever!"

If this conversation hasn't happened in every family room in America, it will. Heck, going to an aquarium is no longer even more impressive than looking at its website.

Like I said: The aquarium is doomed.

But there are two obvious ways to save these wonderful institutions -- one ridiculous and one sensible.

1. Remove the glass and let the fish and other marine life spill out into the aquariums.

2. Allow people with swimming trunks to get into the water with the fish.

As to which one is ridiculous and which is sensible ... well, that's not for me to decide. You're the experts.

Humor & Satire

Humor & Funny Stories - A Fish-Out-of-Water Tale - Humor by Mark Bazer

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