By Robert Lalah
It seems you can't go anywhere these days without hearing some sort of fish joke.
And there's nothing funny about that.
Thanks to the most recent parliamentary debacle, there's been a spike in fish humour, and everyone's trying to get in on the action. Fish here, fish there, everywhere a fish pun.
To be fair, the subject does beg for some sea-themed humour.
'They need a brain sturgeon', 'Oh, my Cod!', 'Let's mullet over', 'Are we herring right?'
Who knew we could do so much with fish? Who knew we would want to?
In any event, I was glad when the week neared its end; for surely, the fish talk would immediately return to its natural habitat - the community rum bar on a Friday night.
But it appears the sea-creature talk isn't over just yet. For it was revealed last week that scientists in the United States thought it a good idea to name a parasitic crustacean Gnathia marleyi for Jamaican reggae great Bob Marley.
Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology at Arkansas State University, so christened the creature because, he said, he loves the dreadlocked singer so much.
Now it is a fine gesture to be sure, and proper upbringing dictates that you should never speak ill of a gift. But the question must nonetheless be asked.
A bloodsucking parasite?
Was there no, er, more agreeable creature in need of a name? One that isn't a bloodthirsty menace, perhaps? I'm just wondering.
The Gnathia marleyi, found mainly in the eastern Caribbean Sea, was actually first spotted by Sikkel about 10 years ago, but he didn't realise at the time that it had never been named. As soon as he found out, it occurred to him to give the Rastaman the high honour. And so the parasite, which bears unfortunate similarities to bloodsucking ticks and mosquitoes, will forever carry on the Marley name.
"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music," the professor said.
Can you imagine the ghastly creature he would have named for someone he didn't like? Yikes.
Would Bob have fancied a bloodsucker carrying his name? Seems doubtful.
Remember the lyrics to the song, Babylon System?
"Babylon system is the vampire, yea! (vampire)
'Sucking the children day by day, yeah!
Mi say di Babylon system is the vampire, falling empire,
Sucking the blood of the sufferers, yeah!"
Clearly, bloodsuckers weren't his thing. And who could blame him?
Residents of Stepney, St Ann, which is next to Nine Miles where Marley was born, have for some time been trying to convince the education ministry to change the name of the Stepney Primary and Junior High School to the Bob Marley Primary and Junior High School. That's the school Bob attended as a boy, and the Marley family has done much work over the years upgrading facilities there and helping out in different ways. The residents thought this would be a good way to honour the man.
They haven't had any success getting this done, however.
Luckily for the Gnathia marleyi, there's apparently no red tape to contend with when it comes to naming parasites. You can be a bloodsucking troublemaker wreaking havoc in the open seas and yet be named for a revered music icon who inspired people all over the world.
Welcome to the club
It's not all dim for brother Bob, though. With the naming of the crustacean, he joins an impressive list of venerable celebrities to have received such recognition.
The 'I have a creature named for me' club includes the likes of United States President Barack Obama, who inspired the name Caloplaca obamae, for a kind of lichen that grows in California. Ageing rocker Mick Jagger was given the dubious honour of having an extinct trilobite, the Aegrotocatellus jaggeri, named for him.
They do get it right sometimes though. The voluptuous Beyoncé, for reasons that are clear, inspired the naming of a horse fly (Scaptia beyonceae), whose outstanding feature is its alluring golden behind.
Now I hope the fish talk of the past few days doesn't give way to crustacean jokes a la Gnathia marleyi.
The entire thing is silly. How could they give the esteemed Marley name to a lowly bloodsucking parasite anyway? He never even went to law school. (Cue rimshot)
Sorry, it just slipped out.
Robert Lalah is associate editor - features, and author of the popular 'Roving with Lalah' feature. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.