Earlier today, a Canadian I know let it slip that residents in the Great White North will often occupy themselves by hitting a block of ice with a fish for upwards of six hours at a time. That led another non-Canadian to comment on the lack of a point of that, as the only surprise or entertainment would be derived from the fish spontaneously coming back to life. Of course, I had to set him right that it would be no surprise at all.
Since it seems my theory (and it is a “theory” in only the same way gravity, evolution, or magic is a theory) was not widely known, let me elucidate my charming readers, who I am sure are smart enough to know this already. Nonetheless, it needs to be stored on the internet, so perhaps future societies can benefit.
In point of fact, slapping fish upon ice (unless this is some bizarre regional euphemism, which I’d prefer not to think about), is no more traumatic for the fish than repeatedly slapping it in water. Surely the fish will suffer, from the concussive force and also from spending too much time out of water. But the fact remains that ice is water, just in a different state. While fish clearly are more comfortable breathing water in its liquid form, there’s no reason they couldn’t learn to breathe ice, which is water in its solid form.
Of course, we likely don’t want to teach fish to breathe ice, since that allows them to go on solid surfaces, the only thing protecting us from them as it is. Sharks, octopi, and whales can just stay in the water and not start breathing materials outside of the sea, thank you very much.
I know the question some of you are asking now, because I have already been asked it: if you were to freeze a fish, and then thaw it, would it come back to life? The answer, of course, is no.
You couldn’t bring it back to life because it was never dead. Ice can’t kill fish any more than too much water can. Once again: ice is water. Consider a fish swimming in water. It moves freely through this liquid paradise he calls home. Now think of the water cooling. As it does so, it gets thicker. As the water gets thicker, the fish slows down, just like how for people running through water is slower than running through air, and running through molasses is even slower, because you keep stopping to eat the delicious molasses. As the water keeps getting colder and thicker, the fish keeps moving slower, because it’s more difficult to move. Once the water freezes into ice, the fish has stopped; the water is too thick to move in. Then once the ices thaws back into liquid, the fish is able to move around again.
In a similar way, a fish is not cooked by boiling water (unless it has died of natural causes, like being shot by a spear gun).
Now, a fish stuck in boiling water will frequently die. It’s not from the water, however (just think of how stupid that idea is; it’d be like a person suffocating from having too much air). Instead, the boiling water allows the fish to move around really quickly. Just like how freezing water got thicker and slowed the fish down, the boiling water is thinner and allows the fish to just dart around at really high speeds. Now, fish are stupid, and don’t realize that maybe they shouldn’t use this incredible power because their fishy bodies can’t handle it. In fact, they move so fast the friction caused by their speeds heats them up so much that they are literally cooked.