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The Sum of Their Fears. . .And Eating Dolphin

January 8, 2020

Why, you may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together – what do you get? The sum of their fears.”

-Winston Churchill

I went to dinner tonight. It was a place called “The Dolphin Bar” in Jensen Beach, Florida. It’s right on the Atlantic ocean. We didn’t see any dolphins. But, it was on the menu. Seriously, grilled dolphin as $27 plate.

I’ve never been to a place that sold dolphin. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Dolphin’s are mammals, they are not fish. Now, we eat plenty of mammals, of course; steak, bacon, lamb. I’m not opposed to eating mammals.

One of the people at dinner had been to the Philippines. He and I were asked about eating balut. It’s a delicacy in the Philippines. I wrote about it here (All Food is Gross.) Balut is duck eggs that have been allowed to develop for about 20 days.

The people at the table were disgusted. (Okay, that might be part of the reason my friend and I were talking about it.) We were all involved in travel and security audits. Two of the five of us were new, but the other three had worked together for years.

These audits happen multiple times per year. We meet at various locations around the country, and occasionally the world. Each audit is both the same as the ones before and uniquely different.

The audits can be a little high stress. If we fail an audit, the auditors could conceivably shut down our call center. We rarely fail. In fact, depending on how you count, we’ve either failed once or never. I count it as a fail, the client decided to count it as a mulligan.

Mulligan: a term used when casually playing golf which allows a player to repeat one stroke per game without penalty.

The best part of the audits, at least with James, the lead auditor, is the dinners afterward. They typically last about 3 hours. The last 90 minutes is spent telling stories and sharing the sum of our fears.

That was my thought tonight as we talked through dessert. We told stories. “Remember the time. . .” The stories ranged from India to Tampa. Stories from our distant past, or our recent past. Tales of success and failure. Close calls and the rare “everything went perfect” times.

Eventually the seperate checks came and we all headed back to our hotels. We will no doubt play out the same dinner at another time in another city. Where we will no doubt add the stories from the night at the Dolphin bar.

Oh, and we didn’t actually order the dolphin, but we did ask about it. Turns out it’s illegal to eat dolphin. (That made us all feel a little better.) What they advertized on their menu as grilled dolphin was grilled mahi-mahi. Because, as our waiter explained it, “Mahi-mahi is in the dolphin family.”

We are all IT security guys, but that didn’t sound right. I mean, dolphin is a mammal and mahi-mahi is a fish. Fortunately, we had our phones. Turns out mahi-mahi is a type of fish called a “dolphinfish.” (All one word.) So, sure, mahi-mahi is part of the dolphinfish family.

You know, like, catfish is part of the cat family.

Oh yeah, that story is going to get told again.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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