BEAUFORT, N.C.—Steven Stephenson seems like a typical, white, 45-year-old, twice-divorced father of three, but unlike many other typical patriotic Americans, Stephenson refuses to eat any meat except fish. Some may be led to believe that this is motivated by his proximity to the North Carolina shoreline and the abundance of quality seafood at his fingertips. Contrary to this belief, though, Stephenson is actually a pescatarian out of a pure hatred of fish.
This loathing begins back when Stephenson was just a boy and his parents took him on a fishing trip on Falls Lake. His father handed him the rod when he felt a bite. The fish was strong and yanked hard on the rod. Determined to not lose the valuable equipment, Stephenson held onto the pole hard, but was quickly swept off of his feet and swept into the icy water. Submerged, Stephenson flailed while his father was panic-stricken at the sight of his only son struggling to stay afloat, yet was resistant to jump in after because he had his expensive clothes on.
In the water, Stephenson suddenly felt a harsh slap across his face. He opened his eyes and through the stinging and the pain, he saw a large group of largemouth bass. That was the last thing he remembered before another lash struck his face.
Waking up the next morning, Stephenson was filled with an intense hatred and antagonism. He knew that he would never look at a fish the same way again. Prior to this watershed event, he had an indifference to his protein choice at meals, but afterwards, he began to refuse any steaks or pork chops that came his way; he needed to get revenge on the creatures that had hurt him. Any time he went to a friend’s house, if they had a pet fish, he would skewer them. Smoked salmon became his favorite breakfast food, but only when he could smoke the fish himself to see the pain. Stephenson’s diet has not gone unnoticed, though. According to his local fishmonger, “something is definitely fishy.”