In George Bernard Shaw’s play Back to Methuselah, that Old Testament serpent tells his Garden of Eden neighbor Eve, “You see things and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and I say “Why not?” Robert F. Kennedy (or at least his speechwriters) changed the wording slightly and used it in a campaign speech in 1968. And last week, the owner of a fish shop in Kuwait brought those words to life, by dreaming up an idea to make his past-its-prime fish look fresher, pasting some googly eyes over their yellowing sockets, and asking “Why the hell not?”
The shop was closed by Kuwait’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry after a widely shared Facebook video revealed the owner’s scam. (We’re admittedly torn about this because there’s nothing funny about foodborne illness, but googly eyes are HILARIOUS. And, rotten or not, those fish are 100-percent more entertaining than The Happytime Murders.) In the ten-second clip, a woman uses her gloved finger to remove the fish’s fake eye, revealing its own sunken, yellowed eyeball. According to Gulf News, if a fish has yellow, recessed eyes, it’s more than two days old and less-than-fresh.
After pretty much everyone on Twitter got those “This seems fishy” jokes out of their system, others raised real concerns about fish sellers’ willingness to scam their customers; several weeks ago, a different vendor was busted for filling his fish with nails to increase their weight. “One time nails, the next fake eyes, next time they will sell us fake fish toys, lack of honesty and cheating is mastered by a lot of people looking for quick profits,” one man harrumphed.
Meanwhile, one of this shop’s competitors has announced that it only sells “fish without cosmetic surgery,” which is definitely a better angle than “If our fish are rotten, you’ll know they’re rotten.” When this store re-opens, surely the owner knows that anything he offers for sale will face extra government scrutiny—so his next fish decorations better be good.