My Revenge Shall be Needlessly Complex and Involve Stonefishes

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Fish

Like most well-adjusted, completely normal people with no signs of any mental illness whatsoever, I spend most of my time in a seething cauldron of rage, constantly seeking horrific vengeance upon people who have even slightly inconvenienced me. An inevitable component of this is that I spend a surprisingly high amount of mental energy plotting needlessly complex revenge, like any good Bond villain. But, until recently, I felt I did not have a suitable instrument of loosely defined ‘justice’ at hand, and so I had to resort to writing passive-aggressive letters of complaint, like most heroes thwarted in their pursuit of redress throughout history.

However, with the stonefish, I feel that at last, I have found the perfect weapon for someone who is both irrationally obsessed with getting back at someone, but also incredibly nervous about even the smallest social contact. Like, I would imagine, the entire readership of this blog.

The genus Synanceia contains five species of stonefish; although some references seem to suggest that there could be as many as thirty – this is probably due to the fact that the genus (Synanceia), subfamily (Synanceiinae) and family (Synanceiidae) names all sound pretty much identical. Besides, as we will discover later, five species of stonefish are five too many, unless of course you are some sort of unbalanced sociopath seeking fish-based revenge, which the blog stats imply you probably are.  They are found throughout shallow tropical seas, from the Red Sea to Singapore to Australia; the latter should come as zilch surprise to anyone who actually knows Australia. Furthermore, one of the species we are talking about has the name S. horrida. I’m going to take a massive guess here that this name is not a reference to the pleasant, safe and tasty nature of this fish. The species most widely discussed, however, is S. verrucosa, which sounds like an unpleasant skin condition. Which, ironically, is what these animals look like.

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but in the case of Stonefish you might as well go ahead, as their horrific outer appearances merely a pale reflection of just how awful these animals are. Seriously, if they weren’t so necessary for my unnecessarily convoluted vengeance stratagem, I would not touch these things with a barge pole. (In fact, I am actually not touching them at all; as we will see later such a move would be incredibly stupid and leading to my revenge ironically backfiring on me). In fairness, though, you probably wouldn’t look much better if you adopted the lifestyle of the stonefish, which basically involves lying in mud, and occasionally opening your massive mouth wide open, which causes a current to sweep smaller fish right into you.

“Hi! I’m Sally the Stonefish! Incredibly, I am even worse than I look!” (Pic. Credit http://www.egfc.com.au/2011/05/09/happy-moment/)

You can kind of see the problem, can’t you…a fish, brilliantly camouflaged, that lurks just offshore (or occasion, on the shore – the things have been known to survive being outside of water for more than twenty hours) and, and I should probably stress this point, is incredibly dangerous. Because what the stonefish has are little dorsal spines on its back, that act as a defence against predators.  And what these little dorsal spines do is inject a little bit of poison, which is said to cause the worst pain in the entire world. (How do they figure that out, anyway? Is there an incredibly luckless intern who travels the world getting attacked by various animals?).

This venom contains a whole host of ingredients (Garnier et al 1994) which altogether induce intense, agonising pain, vomiting, nausea, swelling of the affected area and a fall in arterial blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart failure in some cases (Garnier et al 1996, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002854.htm ). People who have experienced this sting have compared it too, amongst other things,  having sledgehammer hammered down repeatedly on the affected area (http://scienceray.com/biology/zoology/the-most-excruciating-pain-known-to-man/) . Others have talked of an intense burning sensation, sometimes so bad that they lose consciousness, or beg to have the limb amputated. The pain can last for weeks after the sting, and sometimes affects the rest of the body as well – not just the stung bit. Finally, even a traditional treatment – immersing the affected area in hot water, which helps to break down the venom – has its risks, as it can promote the growth of infectious bacteria (http://www.josonline.org/pdf/v14i1p67.pdf) .  Also, wearing shoes may not help you, as there are reports of the spines piercing the souls and still envenomating the foot. Interestingly, some have claimed that their arthritis got better after a stonefish sting; this is almost certainly because after that you’d have to have your arm sawed off by a rusty hacksaw before you even complained about pain again. However, despite all this, deaths from the stonefish are actually rather rare, which makes it even more suitable as a revenge weapon.

After all, you want people to know you went to all that trouble of locating, buying, keeping and feeding a stonefish, then transporting it to right outside their front door, all because they brought the last Mars bar in the shop.

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Comments
  1. Michelle says:

    Kaaarrrrrllll…

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