You get to teach your children a lot about life and loss when you are a fish owner.
You get to have many, many emergency morning funerals and burials-at-sea to the tune of bagpipes and poorly-spelled eulogies. And you get to explain to your third grader why your obnoxiously overweight sucker fish is often surrounded by a pile of what looks suspiciously like your smaller fish. You don’t get much for $.39 these days, I guess.
But you know what fish live forever? The carny ones. Emily once “won” a fish at a pop-up carnival.
You know the kind with the rides that are built by teenagers in exactly 4 hours, that you wouldn’t dare set a single foot on, but you toss your kid on and watch as she smiles with glee with each spin around, and you pray with every fiber of your being that she makes it off the ride in one piece.
I say the word “won” in quotes because there’s no winning involved when you toss 87,000 ping pong balls at a teeny tiny fishbowl as the sweaty boys behind the counter laugh as you keep asking them to make change for you and then $26 dollars later you have yourself a goldfish in a plastic bag and you have to figure out how to get this sucker home without spillage and/or tears.
But good lord we couldn’t kill that fish.
She survived a move, and she even lived for three worry-filled days after the tube of toothpaste incident of ’05. Three years and three days that fish lived.
I wish I could say the same for these pet store fish. You know, the super coddled ones. The ones that have a fancy filter and fancy plants and fancy food. We have taken our tank water TO THE DAMN PET STORE for the experts at Petsmart to check and make sure it’s an optimal living condition. An optimal living condition.
I think I’m going to be first in line at the next neighborhood carny fair because I think I’d pay $100 for another Dorothy just so I wouldn’t have to listen to another eulogy at 7:56 in the morning.