Freaking Stupid, Cute Little Puffer Fish

This is an atypical post for Deep Existence, but I can’t pass up sharing a funny story that makes me look bad.  😀

Kill Devil Hills @ The Outer Banks, NC – May 2nd, 2011

We had to try to save the cute little puffer fish.  He was helpless on the beach and we wanted to send him home.  I bravely volunteered to toss him back from whence he came.

As I balanced the puffed-up specimen on a large seashell in my left hand, I realized that two women were watching me.  It doesn’t matter if the two women are your sister and grandma – when women are watching a man throw something, he must throw it well.  As such, I knew that a left-handed throw would not suffice.  Heck, that could be embarrassing.  So I suavely shifted the open-faced puffer fish sandwich into my right hand.

Not only was I going to be a hero for saving the poor puffer fish, but I would throw it really far like Joe Montana.  I heaved it as hard as I possibly could into the sea.

Reality sucks.

  1. Ego damage – It was a not anything like a Joe Montana pass.  The puffer fish slid off of the shell prematurely and it ended up looking like a shanked NFL punt.
  2. Physical damage – Due to the loss of the puffer fish’s weight right before swinging my arm wildly, I pulled a muscle in my back (it still hurts).
  3. Morale damage – The cherry on top was seeing the puffer fish helplessly float right back onto the shore.

Oh yeah, and I think I could have died.  I was touching it and holding it.  Little did I know that there is enough toxin in a puffer fish to kill 30 human beings. The toxin is mostly internal, but it does reside on their skin and spines (he was puffed).  To give you an idea of the toxicity – it is 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide.

Katie: “Aren’t they poisonous or something?”

Stephen: “Yeah, I think I’ve heard something about that, but I’m not sure.”

*Stephen picks up puffer fish*

Puff Daddy

Here I am holding puff daddy as if he isn't dangerous.

Two minutes later…

Stephen:  “I wonder what the protocol is for washing hands after handling a puffer fish.”

*Stephen eats sandwich*

I was casually eating a sandwich right after handling a creature covered in lethal poison?!  Mmm…yeah.  I’m just an extreme person who takes risks.  It’s neat that I didn’t die.  My back is killing me, but only figuratively speaking.

Interesting fact: Puffer fish are a delicacy in Japan. Highly trained chefs must cut the meat in such a way that the customers are not destroyed internally from eating it. There are still about 100 deaths per year from this.

The cost of a single serving of puffer fish? Hundreds of dollars and your life (tax).

…but you can throw or lick them for free.

Lick of Death

"A man was killed today after he licked a puffer fish."

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Ramcel | The Meek Watcher

What an interesting off-topic story that leaves me the question, “Do you think the puffer fish lived after you thrown it back to the sea?” Not that I do not want to ask if you are alright after handling a creature full of toxins because I think you are in pretty good shape now. *chuckles*


Hi Ramcel!

Unfortunately, the little guy met his end. After I threw him back into the ocean, he floated on the top of the water and came right back to the shoreline. We thought he was dead until he moved when I was holding him. After that we wanted to try to save him. It was just too late for him though. 🙁

A. Irvin

LOL – You’re quite the daredevil! We covered a section on risk-taking/sensation-seeking in one of my psych courses . . . and seeing how close your tongue is to the DEADLY puffer, I think you may have low levels of MAO. LOL.

Seriously, though, there is no way I would have touched it. When I used to go fishing with my dad, I would literally cut the line and add new tackle whenever I caught one. Maybe I would have used some driftwood a in spatula-like fashion and tossed him back in. But never bare hands.

I guess you’re lucky to only have a back injury!


Well, I had no idea I was being THAT much of a daredevil! If I knew what MAO was, I’m sure I’d agree with you. I’ll agree with you anyways, haha.

Yeah, I’m usually very cautious about deadly things, so it was interesting to realize how careless I was being with a spiked ball of poison. 😛

Ramcel | The Meek Watcher

Aaaw that is truly sad. But then you’ve done the best you can to save the little fella. Anyway, it’s a nice freakin’ story I should say. It’s cool to divert our blog writings once in while. It’s kind of like going out of office for a cigarette. What am I saying? I don’t even a smoke. 🙂


Ahahaha, I don’t smoke either. Still, it remains a solid simile.

That’s what’s great about blogging, I can write about whatever whenever. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the story! I briefly debated on whether to post it or not because it didn’t fit the “theme”…but I’ve never been a very conventional person anyways.

A. Irvin

Was joking about the MAO (monoamine oxidase) . . . unless your next post is about gambling or binge drinking 🙂

LOL @ “spiked ball of poison.”


The only time I saw puffer fish was in ‘finding nemo’. I am amused by seeing a real fish in the pictures.
It was true when you said that we have to throw it when two women are watching us. All the equality talk notwithstanding, we men still like to take charge when we see damsel in distress or even standing far away.
Great read. I hope you will continue this blog, ( if you have not eaten that fish ) ;))


Hahahahahaha… I guess I shouldn’t laugh with you being so close to death… but… the humour … it welled within me. Well done Stephen… haha…


Thanks Ashvini,

I vow to never touch or eat a puffer fish from this day forth. And yes, I will continue to blog! 😀


Haha, thank you Meggie. It’s really weird afterwards when you realize you were close to death and had no idea!

Danny @ Firepole Marketing

So… what is the detox protocol?


That’s the scary thing! There is no known antidote! As for detoxing, maybe drink a lot of water? I don’t think there it too much you can do.

Riley Harrison

The dumb things we will do when ladies are present. Sometimes it feels like survival of the dumbest rather than survival of the fittest.


Hahaha, that sounds about right!


This is too funny, and endearing! I love that you tried to make your throw look good. 🙂 It was nice of you to try to save the poor little fish, but now that I know they can kill me, if I ever see one on the shore, I will probably let the chips fall where they may.


Hey Amy,

I’m glad you enjoyed the story! I don’t think anyone will question your decision once you tell them that little puff of spikes can kill 30 people. 🙂


I’m trying to use a different name every time I refer to him….

puffer fish
puff daddy
spiked ball of poison
puff of spikes

Denys Yeo

The puffer fish may not have survived but at least, unlike most of its contemporaries, its demise did not go unnoticed and it is now recorded in the digital world for(ever?). Not many puffer fish achieve that!

Stephen Guise

Hello Denys,

LOL, you have a gift for looking on the bright side! One thing I loved about this post is that it produced a lot of funny comments like this one. That puffer fish should thank me for the media exposure I gave him.

Benjamin K.

Great story! The fish probably would thank you for all the publicity if it were alive to do so. Unless of course it was merely sun bathing when you came along…

Chris Barba

Ha! Off topic – perhaps, but I think weaving a couple of these posts into your site will only give it more substance.

I was just waiting for something to go wrong as I was reading this one. And yes, when women are watching, it doesn’t matter who, whatever we’re doing, we’re going to do it well.



Who can really understand the motives of a puffer fish? Thanks for reading Ben!


I debated on whether or not to post it, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. 🙂 I’m glad you understand the key of life too – impressing women. Thanks for stopping by Chris! 😀

Melvin Jacinto

You’re amazing! Like seriously amazing! Lol. Handling that fish like you’re just holding a tennis ball. Don’t want to think about you licking that fish anymore! I think I’m going to be sick! Lol.


Haha, puffer fish are just like tennis balls with spikes. I would have been very sick if I had licked the fish!

Scrollwork: Quirkyisms from a Tropical Transplant

Can there be a more expressive puffer fish in the world, now that puff daddy has left us? That picture of him looks like a cartoon face! You could’ve added a thought balloon.

Next time you get the urge to post off-topic, don’t debate, ’cause we’ll celebrate!


Haha, a thought balloon saying, “I’m gonna kill this guy” might have been funny. I’ll keep that in mind, thanks!


Hey Stephen,
You had a meek scathe with a puffer fish and just to let you know, it is the second most lethal vertebra in the World, as I have just been notified after handling this creature for a few minutes. My friend and I decided to pick up a new sport: spear fishing with a spear gun and pole spear. I tell you what, those things are accurate, and to give you an idea my friend nailed a puffer fish with his new pole spear. His first aim he missed, the fish began to swell. He yells, “Look its getting bigger. It’s getting easier!” His second shot the fish began increasing in size. He yells.” I’m gonna hit it, it’s huge!” With a basketball covered in spikes to take aim at his third shot was a sure success. As I preceded over the see the great catch of the day, I took a bag full of crabs off from around my neck to drop the fish into. With my amazing intelligence in aquatic creatures, i said the exact same thing as Katie: “Aren’t they poisonous or something?” With my friend to reply, “I don’t know I just wanted to poke it”. To put the fish into our bag we grabbed the fish and pushed him off of the spear. Little did we know, pushing death off of our death spears. Now two teenagers armed with spears, poking anything is a success. We immediately brought the amazing bounty over to our parents: a spider crab, four blue claw crabs, a sea snail, a hermit crab, a star fish, and the second most poisonous vertebra in the World. Yup the World, so Stephen somehow we survived. Well technically you can become paralyzed and then die four to six hours with no antidote. But I guess it’s hit or miss because five hours later my friends and I still feel great. Hungry but otherwise quite well, and to think of it my hunger could have been subdued by TTX, now figured out to be the puffer fish poison. So with our puffed friend looking like a punk rocker with three piercings he seemed to have an odor as well as a white fluid oozing from one hole. Once back to shore we took the puffer fish inside deciding what to do with it so we put it in the sink and took two pictures to send to my dad who knows a lot more then me. After handling the fish to spin him around to take a better picture we packed up again to fish again. Once we reached the ocean my mom came running screaming for us not to touch it. Little did they know we already did, not just once, but a lot, especially as its neurotoxins seeped onto our hands and coated our spears.

Stephen Guise

Wow Zack! That is crazy. I suppose my run-in with the deadly creature is a day in the park compared to yours. Spear-fishing sounds like a lot of fun!

I’m glad you’re alive to tell the story. 🙂


Wow. Glad you weren’t one of the hundred that die from Puffer Fish encounters. But I must say, this is post funny! Glad to discover your blog (from ProBlogger guest post). I’m now a fan!

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