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R.I.P. in advance, you horrible little darling.

so, i have this fish.

my college roommate and i each picked one out at one point, i believe at the end of our sophomore year.  we had no idea what kind they were, we just knew they were available (the girl i babysat for had a million of them after her own fish procreated), they were free, and we were in need of some kind of entertainment other than watching reruns of friends and trashy VH1 all the time.  so we brought them home and named them joeytribbiani (naturally) and spudgy (after a youtube video of a narcoleptic dog).

we got a good laugh out of the fact that joeytribbiani (later shortened to joetrib) appeared to have a crush-bordering-on-stalker-obsession on spudgy, as 'he' chased 'her' (still have no idea how to identify fish reproductive anatomy) all over the fishbowl everyday for weeks on end.

then came spring break.

as katy and i were both going home and had little desire to cart our fish (and their varied aquatic paraphernalia) home with us, we left them under the watchful and tender care of a friend who was from china and therefore not going home for spring break.  (now that i think about it, we may or may not have been big fat american jerks for not inviting him to come to one of our houses instead of burdening him with lame pet sitting.)  and i will never forget the phone call i got the day we returned:

paige: hey sky, can i drop by and pick up our fish?
sky: uh, sure, but i have a good news and a bad news.  which do you want first?
paige: um, good, i guess...
sky: your fish is still alive!
paige: great! okay, what's the bad news?
sky: last night there were two fish, and this morning there were two fish, but one fish did not have a head.

after i made a politically incorrect but still funny joke about chinese people eating their pets (which he laughed at, so i am mostly not ashamed to admit that), i picked up our one remaining fish: joetrib.

since that fateful day when i realized he had not been trying to get his groove on with spudgy, but rather had been envisioning her as a giant swimming chicken leg (or whatever hungry fish hallucinate about), i have discovered what a cold-blooded killer he truly is.

first, i tried to introduce him to another tankmate, hoping the whole 'psychopathic boyfriend' streak was out of his system.  the new fella lasted less than an hour.  then i fishsat for my friend jeska's fish and just put their tanks next to each other.  two days later, her poor little guy was sewage sludge.  again, i fishsat for my sister's fish, manpone, who - though i put them at opposite ends of the kitchen counter - died within the week.

i hypothesized that joetrib was a highlander, sucking other souls to boost his own lifepower, and started watching my own back.  the fact that he seemed somewhat immortal only backed me up on my theory - considering he is now seven or eight years old, i only feed him about once a week, and i haven't cleaned his tank since we moved to this house a year ago, i have been pretty sure he would watch my cold body lowered into the grave at some point and laugh a hearty, triumphant, italian-don kind of laugh.  because he is immortal and because he has plenty of reason to want to exact revenge for my negligence and not-even-thinly-veiled hatred.

HOWEVER.

last night i gave him his weekly ration of fish flakes and he couldn't even get his belly off the (disgusting) floor of his tank to eat.  he just sat there all listless and about-to-die-looking.  and you know what? i was pretty sure he was knocking on death's door.  and i was pretty sure i was kind of sad about it.  because that little guy has followed me from the dorms, to my newlywed apartment, to our house...he has been there when all my kids have come home...he has stuck it out through some rough times.  and to not have that constant in my life is a little sad, surprising as that little discovery was.

but mostly i was kind of sad because now i have to find something to decorate that corner of the kitchen counter with, and i have no idea how to narrow down my options.  so, though he's still hanging on by a thread, i'm dealing with my grief by planning on composting him and also surfing etsy for some kind of print that would look pretty in that corner.

so i could get all, 'it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all' to commemorate and romanticize his (hopefully imminent) passing, but i think a more accurate sentiment would be 'there are literally plenty more fish in the sea.'  cue accompanying shoulder shrug.

5 comments :

todd said...

It's like how Esau comforted himself when Isaac was dying by thinking about how he was going to murder Jacob. We all find things to distract us from grief. :)

Danielle said...

Todd, that is the most amazing comment ever.

The Crislers said...

This made me laugh really hard today. So thanks for that.

Also, if you compost him, then one day use him to enrich the soil in your garden, then grow veggies in that soil, you will, in effect, someday eat joetrib. Does that assuage your grief in some weird way? Or just gross you out?

the crawfords said...

How about a pretty frame in the corner with this saying: "We used to have a fish, but now we have this pretty frame."

Allison said...

If you eat joetrib then he will pass on his somewhat immortal powers to live on to you...just don't get any ideas to bite off Todd's head!