There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
In 2005, the late David Foster Wallace shared this short story as he began a graduation speech at Kenyon college. In doing so, he also immortalized it. The story sets the stage for a speech that warns against unconsciousness in face of the daily rat race.
This story always makes me ask myself – am I conscious of the water that surrounds me? Or, am I swimming around unaware of its existence?
Perspective is a powerful thing. And, I’m grateful for David Foster Wallace for a story that never fails to gift me some.
This is water.