Never Assume: It Makes a Bass Out of You and Me

Posted June 5, 2008 by Nicki Krawczyk

Or: The Fish Roll Comes to Charlestown, Chopsticks Not Included

Mistaken assumptions throughout history: Galileo Galilei’s contemporaries assumed the sun revolved around the earth. Christopher Columbus assumed he had ended his voyage in the East Indies. I assumed I’d be writing today’s blog about some other lousy airline charge. Ah, how wrong we all were.

Instead, today I invite you into my world: Come, sit down with me. Pull another roll-y chair into my cube, read my screen over my shoulder as I type, and breathe down my neck in that creepy way that you do. Today, you are with me here at BookingBuddy HQ, high atop a fifth-floor building in the charming hamlet of Charlestown, Massachusetts. It is here, as we gaze out over the tree-lined streets and condos worth more than you and I combined, that I will give you a little glimpse into the inner workings of BBHQ and divulge another erroneous assumption. Specifically: that a plastic bass won’t change his tune.

Two pieces of backstory before we go on with our Glimpse. Number 1: Big Mouth Billy Bass, the Singing Sensation. According to, this “singing fish is hilarious fun.” He is a plastic mounted fish that looks at you and sings Take Me to the River and Don't Worry, Be Happy. Hilarious. Fun. Probably not David Byrne-approved. And, as if that weren’t enough, he features “Synchro-Motion, a cutting edge technology in animation.” Who says you can’t buy happiness? Anyway, we’ve got one of those in the office. Specifically, in the cube of one Erin Liszewski, aka Sparkles, who’s been the Fish Keeper since she inherited Billy Bass from her predecessor in 2007.


Backstory Number 2: The Rickroll. All absurdity is funny. All Rick Astley songs are absurd. Ergo, all Rick Astley songs are funny. As far as I know, the closest anyone has come to scientific testing of this theorem is the phenomenon dubbed “the Rickroll,” wherein one friend with no concern about being caught wasting time at work forwards an email to another friend. Within this email is a link to, oh, perhaps a news article about encephalitis or a graph about Norwegian cheese. You know, basically, the kind of link you’d be compelled to click. But when they click, oh boy, what do they get? Wait for it … a video of Rick Astley singing his hit Never Gonna Give You Up! It’s absurd! It’s funny! It’s pretty played out by now. Well, in that incarnation, at least.


Back to the bass. In Erin’s own words, “When I began as an editorial intern in the winter of 2007, I was told by my predecessor that I was not only to play the fish (every Friday at 5 p.m.) but to hold him up as an idol and prance around both floors of the office. This was a sacred tradition bestowed upon me, and I should be proud to carry him around every week. I did not learn until weeks or months later that no one had ever danced around the office with him before, but I embraced the new tradition. And even though today, I am nowhere near the newest employee, and I am not even in the editorial department, I do keep Billy around and play him every Friday.” There’s a reason we call her Sparkles, you know?

Then there’s Dave MacGugan and Tom Lamay, who appear to have time on their hands. Or maybe they’re just really efficient. Really, really, uber-efficient, leaving them with more than enough time to do their jobs and still rewire a bass. (I’m kidding; they actually work very hard. Have you ever had a slander lawsuit levied against you? Me neither … cross your fingers.) And when I say rewire, I mean rewire. These guys don’t mess around. Should you be so inclined, here’s a little high-level look at what goes into adding some Astley to your bass:


Well, now, if you’ve been paying attention, you ought to know where this is going:

Billy the Bass, meet Rick Astley. Fishroll, meet Sparkles.

That Friday, at the stroke of 5, as we at BBHQ packed up our things and a glorious weekend stretched before us, when the only thing that stood between us and the open road by way of the BBHQ parking lot was poking a fish and making him sing like the Talking Heads and/or Bobby McFerrin, Erin Liszewski—Sparkles—purportedly roll-resistant—was Fish Rolled.

My friends, that is how we at the BBHQ like to end the work week. And what have we learned from today’s blog and our view into HQ? That sometimes the most expected things can end up bass-ackward.

Roll on.

Rick Astley
Billy the Bass

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Reader Comments

As one of Billy's previous keepers, I can honestly say I have never been more proud in my life. I love that Billy now sings Rick Astley.

Posted on June 06, 2008 at 04:18 PM by RaeJean Stokes

I hug'n'kiss people who know the difference in phenomenon and phenomena. Consider yourself hug'n'kissed.

Posted on June 07, 2008 at 08:40 PM by Darla

haha this is what happens when there is boredom in an office. i love it!

Posted on June 16, 2008 at 09:56 AM by chantix

that is the most incredible thing i've ever seen in my life, i want one so bad

Posted on June 16, 2008 at 09:48 PM by josh

I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information.

Posted on December 20, 2011 at 04:21 AM by Lexapro

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