It’s Dead Fish!


There’s a nice old chap who frequents a popular coffee hang-out in one of the suburban malls where I live. I see him there a few mornings a week. He sits by himself, and is usually found chatting up whomever’s next to him. The last time this 90-year-old was chatting up a group of three ladies.

Some mornings I get a chance to talk with him, and it was in one of these conversations, whereupon he had said that not living far from the mall, that his wife, who’s unable to get out and about and prefers to stay in, meant that he’s happy with all his amenities nearby. I could be in a rush, grab my tea and go, but I have a few minutes waiting for the barrista to make my order, and if I see him, I smile or wave, and I listen.

He told me one time that earlier in his life when he would more regularly use the local bus, he’d go downtown. One time he went to see his optometrist, having not bothered finding one closer to where he had moved to because he’d been with this doctor a fair while, but it meant having to go downtown. It was in the telling of his story about the ease with which he could take the bus, and not having to worry about parking like in his driving days, that he had used this particular exclamation, the one by which I title this post.

When he had been driving in downtown, it was always such a bother to park, so, and if I recall this correctly, he preferred the street to the parkades that had sprung up over the years. He thought driving around and around in them a bit pointless, and if there was difficulty finding a spot, and by his nuance, obviously it was, then it was phrased, ‘It’s dead fish, you know.” I had never heard this before, and it sort of caught me off guard. I giggled when heard it. It was then that I learned he hailed from Scotland over sixty years before.

I love that little old man at the coffee place. I love his stories too.

I have been speaking to him on and off the past few months. I just learned his name.

Mr. McPhee.

Mr. McPhee, you’re no dead fish, not by a mile.


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