When you come to think of it, time itself is something that somewhat causes you to have multiple personalities.
Every few years (and then every few decades as you get older), you become a different person physically at least, if not psychologically, although legally you remain yourself.
With all the ways in which your thinking, feeling, willing, and relating have varied over different stages, which version of yourself is the real one? Which particular photo, for instance, best portrays the you that you want to be most remembered–your high school or college graduation photo, the shot of your wedding day, the picture of you carrying your first child or grandchild?
If there is not something or someone that is unchanging upon which all reality stands, we will all be strangers to ourselves, doomed with incoherence.
While the Web page loads to show me what inun-unan is in English,
I put the phone down, say grace, and—with the kind of nonchalant
ambidexterity we apply to things we’ll take for granted on this day—
pick apart the bones off one side of the fish, separating morsel from
nonedibles: red-orange scales, tail, spine, what remains of the head.
As if to honor its memory (or as though it would), I pause to marvel
at the fresh whiteness of this piece of sea meat, harvested at dawn
by fishermen who continue to fish despite being unenriched by the job,
from the bounty of a sea that continues to give despite being polluted;
and at how effortlessly fish-molecules—infused with vinegar—merge
with people-molecules so that at any given time, you have something of
sea and land, animal and plant in you; at how, no matter which specific
arc of the circle of life you bite, someone is bound to be offended, for
food is really a matter of one dying for another to continue living. And
it’s not your fault this is how things are, for how else do you in fact take
part in the dance of the universe but through standing on the shoulders
of giants; entering the world, for instance, through a life-threatening
event. You can only hope that by heeding the call to “take and eat,”
gracefully, grudgingly, gratefully, grumpily, any manner but guiltily,
you may eventually stop trying to live off the fat of your ability, off
the produce of your guarded, steely sufficiency, and like fish, broken but
multiplied, lay down your life.