Like shooting fish in a bowl

My friend Opal Townsend went to a psychiatrist once, a long long time ago.

The young doctor was a local boy who’d come straight back home to Boise after university to set up the first psychiatrist office in the area. This was in the fifties, so medical practices not involving leeches had only just started to percolate into Idaho.

The doctor was running late, and in fact didn’t get to see Opal until forty minutes after her appointment time, which is really not good enough.

She said that he had a fish tank in his waiting room, and there was a single fish in it, a little orange and white one, which swam around and around in a tiny circle through the windows of a little pottery castle. Every now and then it would look surprised and nibble at a plant, but then it just started up again, around and around and around.

Opal started off reading an old National Geographic to pass the time, but had to put it down when she decided that some of the tribal rituals it showed were a little too graphic for a good Christian woman to see.

After that, she watched the fish swim around in circles for half an hour while she waited.

Finally the doctor came out and she had her appointment. She said he was quite lovely, but she felt awkward and a little shy, so she didn’t say very much.

Of course, she went home that afternoon and shot her husband with a model 12 Winchester, but he had been asking for it for years, so no one really blamed Doctor Kennedy.

Image: Phiseksit /

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