Washington's androgynous fish


By T.A. Frank

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“Abnormally developed fish, possessing both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River…raising alarms that the river is tainted by pollution that drives hormone systems haywire. The fish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, are naturally males but for some reason are developing immature eggs inside their sex organs… [Representatives] at area utilities said there was no evidence that tap water taken from the Potomac was unsafe to drink.”
The Washington Post, Sept. 6, 2006

Potomac Springs Corporation
Potomac River Plaza
Washington, D.C.

11-13-2006               
Dear Mr. Tropboire,

We are in receipt of your letter of Nov. 9 in which you complain of symptoms that you connect to water processed at our utility company.  While we understand your surprise at having developed a large pair of breasts with fully functioning mammary glands, we can assure you our researchers have found no conclusive link between your symptoms and consumption of Potomac River water, a beverage of the highest caliber.

In addition, yes, we have read reports of intersexed fish but must say we find bass to be among the least credible species of the fish group.  We see no profit in entertaining their case.

We understand that your wife has had complaints as well, especially over the unwelcome forest of chest hair, but let us assure you: God could not have designed a body of water more richly suited for drinking than that of the Potomac.  We feel that sometimes the best palliative for any ailment is to have a tall glass of its cool, restorative freshness.

Best wishes,
Potomac Springs Corporation

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Potomac River Plaza
Washington, D.C.

2-14-2007
Dear Mr. Tropboire,

Congratulations.  We’re delighted to hear you’re expecting, and we see no reason for concern. Think of seahorses.  We’d ask if the baby-to-be is a boy or girl, but labels are confining. 

You write that you feel lingering doubts over water quality in the Potomac River, and your feelings are completely understandable.  The world can be confusing.  So many of us develop the odd breast or ovum, and it’s natural that we go looking for answers.  But you won’t find them in the Potomac, which, truly, is heaven’s gift to water drinkers.  With its proximity to the nation’s capital, its heady bouquet, and its rich amber color, this is river water for the true river-water connoisseur.

As for your wife’s prostate, if it causes her no discomfort, we recommend leaving it alone. 

Best wishes,
Potomac Springs Corporation


Potomac River Plaza
Washington, D.C.

12-21-2007                       
Dear Mr. Tropboire,

Thank you for your letter.  Congratulations on the successful delivery of your baby human, and we’re delighted that you have chosen to breast feed. Every bump has a silver lining, as we like to say at Potomac Springs Filtering. 

We did not see the need for your intemperate language, though, and feel that the “Three-Mile Island toilet” epithet was especially hurtful, given the pride we take in our product.  Yes, we know about the recent extinction of Potomac bass.  Frankly, we view it as an act of suicide in an asymmetrical war waged against us.

On that note, we hope you’ll sample our new line of Potomac River ice, beautiful in its luminescence and indispensable in a power outage.  Whether you’re a man, woman, or Washingtonian, you’ll be sure to enjoy the thirst-quenching, flavorful properties of the best the Potomac has to send downriver.

Best wishes,
Potomac Springs Corporation

   

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T.A. Frank is a consulting editor of The Washington Monthly.  
 
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