I joined the high school newspaper in my senior year for one reason—so I could have my own comic-strip. It was called Dweezlebwob 634 and featured talking cheese and a sentient severed finger, amongst other oddities. Despite this, the newspaper staff also saw fit to foolishly give me my own column, “The Other Side of the Ditch.” I squandered this honor by writing about ludicrous conspiracies and other facetious topics.
Below is the first installment—a treatise on the true meaning of the epic poem Beowulf.
The Other Side of the Ditch
30 September 1994
In English classes throughout our nation students are being forced to read the epic “Beowulf,” but very few suspect its true origin. Written by the extremely late fish, Harold Ofindenheimer, “Beowulf” is not about the archetype of a hero, but instead the process of making a sandwich.
It is a shame that so few suspect the existence of the fish language, Fishineese. Fish throughout history have formulated a form of communication that parallels English. It uses the same alphabet and words except they have different meanings and pronunciations. Long before man existed, the fish had perfected this language. Unfortunately, it is difficult for fish to write underwater. The paper deteriorates and the ink always smears. When the first fish evolved into an amphibian, he scribbled this alphabet on a rock. Long after, man came along and found this stone and, of course, he greedily took the credit.
It is popular belief that “Beowulf” was written in the tenth century by a monk. Not so. Ofindenheimer was this monk’s goldfish. Being a natural genius, as most fish are, Ofindenheimer hypnotized his monkish owner with his glittery scales. It is common knowledge that many people have claimed to understand fish when under hypnosis. It seems that a branch of the subconscious stores an ability to decipher similar languages. Naturally, Ofindenheimer was able to dictate his story to the hypnotized monk and have him record it like a common stenographer.
Ofindenheimer’s “Beowulf,” meaning “Hold the Tomato” in Fishineese, is about the painstaking process of creating the ideal sandwich. When the monk awoke from his state of submission, he lost his unconscious link with Fishineese. Looking into his hands, he believed he had concocted an epic about Beowulf, the ideal hero. Horribly offended, Ofindenheimer vowed to never “write” again. “Hold the Tomato” is a beautifully phrased composition. It is a shame Ofindenheimer never wrote again. It is a common rumor among dolphins that he always dreamed of writing about meatloaf; the dish, not the singer.