Consider, gentles, the marvel which Fate and father-in-law have seen fit to provide us: wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, a 14-inch bass fish, large of the mouth, fixed and fitted to a rough-hewn board. Yet no fish of mere mortal flesh is this, but a largemouth bass whose heart (larger still!) is cunningly and fearfully in far-away Taiwan of solder and silicon made. A faux-finned freshwater Figaro is he, who though his earthly body remain firmly to its mount affixed, looses such soaring song to prod one's very soul to climb ever upwards. So why, at the merest whim of thee or me, is this die-cast dweller in the murky depths transformed into befinned baritone?

And well may you ask me why, against all sense, a fish imprisoned upon a board may sing. And what's more, no true fish indeed, but a fish of plastic mounted on a board of the same cold synthetic made—how can it then give throat to song? To you incredulous questioners, I say you need but look within the very heart of the fish, and at the battery-operated marvel that is its prerecorded song chip and tiny piezoelectric speaker.

For who's to say that a fish, though mounted, should not sing? Certainly not the oracles and near-divines at Mid-American Novelty, those brave worthies who know no bounds of vision nor of heart, who have such wonders made as Mr. Big-Mouth Bass—not so much a mockery of piscine flash and Pagan revelry as a marriage of the same. And through the judicious, ingenious use of transistor and diode, of mechanical actuator and alkaline battery, have they given their fever-dreams of singing fish a blessed life—a life which, while apart from ours, should in our little lives play its part. And for but a penny less than a score of dollars, who could, by right, say no?

Not I. For even absent a glance into the heart of this noble if simulated scion of wave and water, my own heart leaps up—much as the scaly thing itself feigns to leap from its very board while its electric gills blow to life the Oak Ridge Boys' bumptious ballad "Elvira." For indeed, when this mounted fish sees fit to sing it, my heart is, indeed, afire. Not for the lovely lady in the lyrics, but for the brushless dipole motor which motivates the mounted fish to turn its head and bend its gaze to look right at me.

No—to look right inside me. To look into my soul. And to tell me that, in a world where a fish can sing, there is nothing that I myself could not do, were I only fitted with the proper printed circuit boards, the exact right lengths of pure copper wires, the correct voltage and wattage of battery. The mounted fish stands in joyously less-than-mute testimony that, though there be nothing new under the sun, engineering clever and true may provide us with wondrous novelties.

So ask not for whom the mounted fish sings—it sings for the one who pushes the little red button.