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To fight a dragon

Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait

I’ve been on a herring kick lately. It’s cheaper than tuna and as healthy as all hell. I’ve explored all my myriad options as I go. There’s the all important pickled herring, herring in tomato sauce, fried herring, smoked herring, herring in mustard sauce, herring in curry sauce. I’m addicted to the little baltic fish.

When I made it to the counter of World Market, the cashier was eyeing me up before I’d even set my things down. I dropped five tins of herring on the counter and let her ring me up—tomato herring and mustard herring. I had a jar of pickled herring in the car. “Wow, you really like herring,” the girl said sarcastically. I told her it was due to my Nordo-Germanic roots. I’ve got fish oil in my blood.

In fact, I wasn’t wrong. My grandfather always used to request pickled herring and rye bread from my parents when he came to visit. Now, my pantry is bedecked with the same German delicacies.

My grandfather was a bastard. He once sprayed my sister in the eyes with Windex on purpose.  He had an anal compulsive obsession with model trains. I can remember getting yelled at for stopping his train on a curve rather than a straightaway section of the track. Even my parents agreed that the man had a malaffective disposition.

Lately, I’ve began to feel more and more misanthropic. I can be a general asshole in classes. I’m hypercritical of others but it wasn’t until recently I decided that I’m toxically hypercritical of myself. Those who feel I’ve criticized them unfairly would crumble if they knew how I judged my own work.

Along with herring, German tradition contains folklore about  a hero Seigfried who slays the dragon Fafnir. In folklore, dragons are typically that inner beast with which one must contend, the psychological residue of self-doubt. If ignored, the dragon grows in size and strength.

Perhaps, I’ve inherited my grandfather’s dragon. I think it’s time the beast be slain. When fighting a dragon, it’s always good to eat a balanced breakfast. I think I need more herring.

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