Once upon a time, I was served a whole trout in a fancy restaurant. I whimpered loudly enough for the waiter to notice I wasn't about to eat anything that stared back at me. He took it back to the kitchen, decapitated it, and I was fine. In fact, I ate all the creme brulee nobody else could finish. I was 15. The end? Not quite.
Now, I love getting a whole fish. First of all, they're beautiful. Second, fish and shellfish and their kin are just about the only creatures we can eat in a "whole" state, skin and bones and all, as a reminder of what it is that we're eating. It's much more natural and psychically helpful than eating a McRib, I think. So I love eating them, but I've never before known how to clean them fresh out of the water...until Sunday.