Life In The Fish Factory

Before this whole unemployment thing, I put in 12-hour days, seven days a week at the Fish Factory. Not so puzzling now huh? I mean who quits a job in this economy? Try making fish for a living.

When I was a kid I used to think fish came from the water. You know when other fish got married. But no, that only accounts for roughly 15% of the world’s fish population. The other 85% comes from fish machines made in factories all over the world. I worked in the biggest fish manufacturer in North America. It was tough, backbreaking work. Not to mention it wore on me mentally. Try making a fish from scratch, getting attached to it, then having to turn it into fish sticks. It was harsh.

During my five-year stint there though, I kept a journal. Below are a few excerpts I’ve chosen that will hopefully get my experience across-

Dear Diary,

8/3/09

I can’t sleep tonight. I’m so tired it hurts, but I smell awful. Sandra is making me sleep on the couch, and there are no blankets out here. I’m freezing. I’ll have to remember to bring an extra thermos of coffee to my shift tomorrow.

See that was just one way it affected my home life. Here’s another example-

Dear Diary,

5/7/07

Today was the first time I saw a man die. But it probably won’t be my last.

“Make a fish!” was the last thing he said before a 300-pound tuna crushed him. John, our line boss had been instructing us, when Robert accidentally lost his grip on the pulley. The fish slipped off the pallet and fell with all its mass on John. Robert ran to John’s side, but it was too late. He was fish paste. Robert had to be physically pulled away, so the cleaning crew could come in.

When I was walking home, all I could think of was ways this could’ve been prevented. Why didn’t we prepare better? Why is sushi so popular? Why did Poseidon pick now of all times to seek his revenge? But none of that settled my mind. It only made it worse.

I drank a jar of gin until I fell asleep…

While I worked there, 437 more lives were lost. Not a day goes by when I don’t remember them. Here’s my last entry I’ll share with you today-

Dear Diary,

10/12/11

Why do they have to be so cruel? Why do they have to call them “schools of fish”? I made my latest batch of salmon, and they were glorious little guys. They were my pupils and I was the teacher. I named them all, but Gills, Butterfinger, and Sonja Blade were my favorites. I even taught them tricks, and they reacted to my voice. But this morning when I came in for my shift, they were gone. I learned that there was a salmon burger order that had to be filled. They chose mine. I…

I’m sorry but the rest of that entry is too personal. I’d rather not share it. But let’s just say I quit a week after that. Life has not been easy since being unemployed, but not a day goes by that I regret my decision. This blog entry is dedicated to the lives lost in the fish factory. May you rest in peace.

 

 

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