Failure in the Fish Business

By Alan B. Combs with a similar tale by Bob Dvorak.

There is a local chain of Barbecue and Ribs restaurants in Texas and other states called Tony Roma’s. These are mid-scale establishments and the food generally is good without being too high priced. Having given them this plug, I do have to tell the sad story about when the chain decided to become a fish restaurant, as well.

Near the headquarters of the chain, there is a very lovely river that had an excellent history of producing fresh water fish including bass and catfish. This was the source of Tony Roma’s fish and all went well until some person of totally questionable ancestry seeded the river with carp. This is a very aggressive, survival-oriented fish with no commercial and little sport value.

The fish business went down the drain and Tony was left singing the blues, enough so that one of his competitors remarked about his lament, “A river dirge, eh, Roma?”

An earlier pun using the same starting place is by Bob Dvorak:

An old industrial town decided it was time to clean up the local waterway. Engineers built a series of diversionary trenches to capture some of the solid pollutants.

Unfortunately, the vastly increased concentration of pollutants in these trenches caused a greatly obnoxious odor in the neighborhood, prompting locals to start singing that famous old song, “A River Ditch Aroma.”

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