Monday, December 02, 2013


A couple of years ago, I was making some idle chit-chat while getting my annual pap smear. My doctor is this adorable younger nerdy Asian guy, and he seems to get really flustered during the procedure, so I always try to distract him with some non-cervical discussion.
"How much salmon, would you say, is safe to eat on a regular basis?",  I asked. He was busy poking around underneath a paper blanket, and asked me how much I consume in a week. "I don't know", I replied, "Maybe three or six servings". He looked up from between my legs with furious concern.

When I left the office that day, he handed me a requisition for blood work. When the results came back into the office, he called me back in to discuss my mercury levels, which he called "borderline high". He told me to cool it on the fish for a while, and asked me to watch for signs of poisoning, which included hair falling out, rashes, and skin peeling away from the body. This scared me for about four days, until I discovered the joys of sushi delivery.

I guess I just had never entertained the thought that somebody would be willing to drive raw fish to my house, but my love affair with salmon only grew. Sometimes, the silky, fresh feeling of salmon sashimi sliding down my throat is the last thing I think about at night, and the first thing I think about in the morning. However, no matter how erotically I was thinking about slices of soft, pink flesh, my doctor's words kept ringing in my ears, and I tried to be careful. I really did.

I came into some money after selling my house, and last night I was mildly hungover and mentally and physically exhausted in the most wonderful way, and called one of my favorite sushi joints to drop me off a platter of their finest mercury-laced aquatic creatures. I have been known to be rather indulgent when ordering, and last night was no exception, particularly with the extra weight in my bank account.
Extra sashimi? Why not?
$30 on appetizers? Fuck it. All Tataki everything.

I am not a person with a lot of vices, but of all of harmful things I ingest from time to time, salmon has got to be pretty far down on the list. I could be addicted to onion rings or shopping or meth, but no. Fish. I still crave it every single day. I tried taking omega-3 supplements, I tried just eating other things, and there's just no comparison.
This year, at my annual pap smear, my doctor asked me about my salmon consumption. I impishly lied and told him I had quit entirely, and secretly checked my palms for peeling skin.

~sarah p.

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