It's Open Season on Billy Bigmouth Bass

Editorial written by Christopher Morrill on Thursday, August 17, 2000

from the and-you-don't-even-need-a-fishing-license dept.

Hunting and fishing have always seemed a bit odd to me. Why would anyone want to kill their own food if they don't have to?

I consider myself civilized enough to buy all my food. More often than not, I even pay someone else cook for me. (Such a novel concept to some, but look at the upside: you never have to drag a dead carcass home. That all becomes somebody else's problem.)

However, am going to put aside my distaste for hunting for one special mission: I'm going to kill Billy Bigmouth Bass.

Every last goddamned one of him.

If you're not familiar with Billy yet, let me enlighten you: Billy Bigmouth Bass is a fake mounted fish that sings. The most popular version sings either "Don't Worry, Be Happy" (by Bobby McFerrin) or "Take Me To The River" (by the Talking Heads). He will sing on demand, if you press a button. He will sing if you just happen to walk by. He will sing if you even look at him, or think about him. No matter how much you curse at him, he will not stop singing. Billy Bigmouth Bass knows all, and sings all. He knows where you live, and he's going to follow you home and...

Well I exaggerate. But not by much.

The fish flops around on his mounted plaque while he sings. My parents were one of the first in their town to buy one; everyone thought it was clever the first time around. But only the first time.

The next, say, ten thousand or so times, it got really annoying.

Now everybody in the world has one. It's just awful.

Singing fish have infiltrated even businesses. I nearly fainted today when I went to my favorite local all-you-can-scarf fish restaurant and saw Billy there, mounted on the wall.

I panicked. I looked around, trying to plot a path that would not take me past Billy Bigmouth Bass. If I walked past him, surely he would see me. This would require him to taunt me by his horrible singing.

There was no escape. Rather than force myself to walk past Billy, I left.

On the way out the door, I heard him braying out his awful tune. My skin crawled. Had he somehow seen me, anyhow?

My God, is he watching me?

Billy Bigmouth Bass is a particularly dangerous strain of tacky decor because he appeals strongly to fishermen and hunters, or those who fancy themselves as outdoorsmen. This describes most of the people in this area. In southeast Missouri, and throughout the South, we now have a talking fish epidemic that's wildly out of control.

It's worse than pink flamingos or disabled cars in the front yard. It's worse than a Ten Commandments placard. It's everywhere. It's a southern fad quickly becoming a menace.

To make matters even worse, Billy has already produced the obligatory copycats. Spencer's, the center of the universe for all things tacky, now has two Billy Bigmouth Bass clones. Now he has Cool Catfish and Travis Trout to keep him company, and to aggravate my notoriously short temper.

You don't think they're trying to take over the world? Well, someone needs to explain where Cool Catfish and Travis Trout came from. The only plausible answer is: they reproduce asexually.

We're all doomed.

I suggest the following: a massive counterattack. A Billy Bigmouth Bass Massacre. A holocaust of anything with gills and vocal chords. We can all get gussied up in our camo, face paint, pickup trucks, guns, crossbows, and just start killin'. I expect a vicious, house to house battle, with brutality not seen in Missouri since the War of Northern Aggression. We're going to flush out every last one of these talking fish, and they will be exterminated with extreme, cold blooded glee. It will be a genocide of historic proportions.

We'll pile all the singing fish up and burn them, the flames rising higher and higher while we cavort and celebrate our epic victory over this dark force.

Good taste, and human survival, would thank us. And maybe I can go to the fish restaurant in peace.