Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Fish Just Tried To Kill Itself

I can't believe my eyes. I heard a flop-bloop sound from Tiara's little tank and when I ran over to see what the noise was, she's just sitting there, halfway out of the water, with a resigned look on her face, waiting for nature to finish her off.

"Cut that out," I said and shook the tank until she fell back in.

I have to confess that the reason she was able to even be halfway out of the water was that her tank was low. Because it was a little overdue for a cleaning. In my defense, Tiara is a Beta fish - basically one step up from a goldfish, which is like five steps up from an amoeba. They'll tell you at the store that Beta fish don't need a lot of fluid floor space. They're supposedly perfectly happy in the little baggie they're sold in. I guess with a three-second memory, life is just one big surprise party.

But I was never satisfied with setting her up in that kind of lifestyle. This was going to be my daughter's first pet, a gift for her 4th birthday, and, while not the first pet she'd lived with, the first one that was exclusively hers. And so we spared no expense. The bowl we got her, about the size of a small pumpkin, was a Beta fish mansion. And I generally always keep it full.

I can only speculate what would have driven Tiara to this act of attempted fish suicide. Was the low water breaking her heart? Its swampy consistency? Did Tiara have other plans for her life that we didn't know about - ocean-sized dreams in a goldfish bowl-sized reality. Or was it something else wearing down her soul, like the hours spent alone while Claire and I are at work and school; or the psychotic pep of Claire's Care Bear's movies on repeat.repeat.repeat. Maybe she just didn't like my piano playing. (No, that's impossible.) Had Tiara gotten her memory back!

For now the bowl has been cleaned and we're keeping an eye on her while also making an effort not to stare at her with condescending pity.

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