A LESSON IN FLOUNDER PUBERTY
July 10, 2023 | Author Friend Promo
from Anne Montgomery
I grew up watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, a TV show that explored the animal world. (And now you know how old I am.) I mention this because I continue to be amazed by the strangeness and beauty of the animal world. Take the peacock flounder for example, one of my all-time favorite creatures to meet when I’m scuba diving.
Peacock flounder are lovely creatures that work very hard at growing up.
As cooks might know, flounders are flat fish with eyes that tend to point in different directions. But did you ever wonder how they became flat? It might surprise you to know that flounders are born just like most other fish, but when they hit fishy puberty, they flop over on one side. This can be rather problematic at first, since that means one of their poor little eyes is now facing down. But no worries. The brilliant flounder can make its bottom eye crawl around its head where it ends up next to the other eye. As I mentioned earlier, the eye positioning is not perfect, which gives the wee guy a bit of an off-kilter look. Still, they adjust and eventually the teenage flounder starts swimming sideways.
Why, you ask? It’s an evolutionary thing. Flounder figured out that it’s easier to hide from predators if they can lie flat on the bottom of the sea. Blending in is important in their watery world, which brings me back to the peacock flounder. These guys have magnificent turquoise spots and purple edges when they’re swimming, but as soon as they alight on something, they change color to blend in, just like their land cousin the chameleon. Isn’t that cool?
Magically, the peacock flounder can turn colors instantly to blend in with its surroundings.
I often thought of the flounder in my high school classroom, where the changes associated with human puberty sometimes popped up in conversation. I realized it was a tough time in the lives of the young people I taught, something we adults understand as we all somehow survived that often tumultuous life change.
Whenever students seemed overwhelmed, I would tell them the story of flounder puberty. I hoped it might make them understand that things could be worse. I mean, imagine if your eye had to crawl to the other side of your head.
Often, the tale elicited a shocked silence, as they tried to wrap their heads around a sideways-swimming fish with a migrating eye. While I thought it was a perfect teachable moment, I sensed the kids just thought me strange.
But we teachers hold on to the hope that maybe, someday, our charges will understand our reasoning, an a-ha moment that will make them remember what we said and why.
Please allow me to offer you a glimpse at my latest women’s fiction novel for you reading pleasure.
In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.
When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.