6 Good Things About Having Caffeinated Streams

(And one thing that should never happen.)

Ever the optimist, when I’m faced with research that caffeine is present in remote streams (we’re talking remote, with no urban center or sewer system nearby), I look for the silver lining. Yes, caffeine is used as a marker for other pollutants, which means there’s likely more non-native substances to be found. Not good. But surely there are a few good things about having fish hopped up on caffeine, swimming around our waterways. Consider these potential upsides:

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  1. Fish racing will become a thing. Those fish will start moving. You train yourself a nice bunch of fast, energetic trout, set up a race course, maybe a little betting pool — shazam! A pulse-pounding, moneymaking venture, right there in your local stream or pond. The possibilities are endless, but if we aim high and work together, fish races could be the next big thing at county fairs everywhere. Maybe you retire early after building an empire. Maybe you run a solo operation. Lots of options with these peppy pesce.
  2. Easier prospecting for your hermit house. The higher the caffeine content in a remote stream, the more you know it isn’t quite so remote. If solitude is what you seek, look for areas where the caffeine level is low and people haven’t tromped through, leaving their waste near your potential bunker site. It’d be disappointing to haul all that survival stuff to your new lair in the middle of nowhere only to find hikers peeking through your window.
  3. Increased bureaucracy. Fish can be rated for caffeine content based on their river source: decaf, mid-range, and super caffeinated. Having ratings will require charts, scales, and at least one new governmental department, which will also regulate the caffeine levels for your fish-racing venture to make sure there’s no fish doping. This department will be very busy. Maybe they should have some water from the stream to stay awake.
  4. Pricey, elite fish. Pure, no-caffeine fish will cost more, as will ultra-caffeinated fish. Hipsters will flock to both. Restaurants will call it out on their farm-to-table menus. There will be documentaries. John Oliver will do an in-depth segment. Someone will blame millennials; someone else will blame vaccines.
  5. Increased fish population. Caffeine could mean more energy for spawning, boosting our efforts to revitalize struggling fish populations.
  6. Secondhand caffeine. I haven’t checked the science on this, but if it works out, meals will be getting much livelier, pescatarians will be the most energetic group of people in the country, and ordering food on a date will get even more complicated. She recommended the fish. Do I look tired? Bored? Does she want me to eat fast so she can end this date ASAP? Am I speaking too slowly? What does it all mean??

But, then there’s this: The search for a caffeine boost will most certainly lead to someone creating fish/coffee combos. This is not a good thing. This is the opposite of that. For goodness sake, don’t do this. If you want more caffeine, you’re better off drinking one of those high-octane energy drinks that taste like sweaty “froot juice” and give you heart palpitations. Fish coffee is not OK.

Repeat that: Fish coffee is not OK. But, neither is having non-native substances in our streams. For a thorough and more sobering look at the issue, read this: www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2017/06/05/your-caffeine-habit-may-be-harming-waterways-wildlife.

And don’t be the last person to get a fish-racing license.