Monday, October 05, 2009

Fish Tales

When I was but a wee Lime in first grade the students in my class were assigned as groups with each group being given the responsibility of a goldfish. The little bowls were all lined up on the counter at the back of the classroom. Each group member was supposed to take turns feeding the fish. I recall thinking our poor fish looked terribly hungry all the time, what with all the opening and closing of his mouth at the surface of the water. I was quite sure he was begging for more flakes. He always gobbled the flakes quickly. It seemed the scant pinch he was permitted only once daily was entirely too little sustenance for a growing goldfish. I took it upon myself to make sure he was given 3 square meals a day. Thus it came to pass, rather quickly, that our group's fish came to pass. We were informed overfeeding was the cause of death. For a while I was a bit concerned that I may enter the afterlife at the hands of my now disgruntled fellow fish caretakers who were now watching the other groups happily tend fish while we had nothing but an empty bowl.
When Diana was about 5 she became the proud owner of a 5 gallon tank full of various goldfish. She excitedly named them all and enjoyed feeding them and looking at them and introducing them to visitors. Mr. Lime, however, experienced the joy of tank cleaning. The fish did well for about a month before they started going belly up. The first few fish fatalities were fairly frustrating and sad. As each goldfish floated off into its next existence we held a brief ceremony celebrating its life before sending it into the sewer with a solemn flush. By the time the last of the school of goldfish expired wee Diana had grown somewhat matter-of-fact. Her morning routine grew to include checking the fish tank and announcing loudly, "Another one is dead! I'll flush it!"

After the final flushing farewell the tank stood bereft of inhabitants for a few days before we got around to scrubbing it out. During that time, a visitor wandered over to the tank to check out the fish who were no longer there. Said visitor inquired as to the whereabouts of Diana's fish. Though Diana has always been among the more blunt people I know she was suddenly struck by the seeming delicacy of the situation. She walked over to our guest, put her hand gently on his shoulder, looked consolingly into his eyes, and intoned gravely but ever so sincerely, "I'm sorry. They've all gone to...potty heaven."

On Friday evening, Diana informed me via Facebook status that after $5 and 80 half caved in ping pong balls she had become the proud mother of three goldfish in colored water who were now residing in cups on her dorm desk. I was delighted to learn my grandfish's names, Norman, Elias, and Elicia. Like any proud grandmother I asked for pictures so I could properly brag on my brilliantly gifted grandfish. After all, they are in no ordinary school of fish; they attend college (ba-dum-dum). I encouraged her care for my grandfish even as I tried to avoid being overly meddlesome. Rather than criticize the accommodations Diana has provided my grandfish I offered to gift them with a lovely little bowl to replace the plastic cups she scrounged for them. Alas, Saturday morning the tragic call came. Elias has gone on to potty heaven.

R.I.P. Elias. I never even got to see a picture of you. Let's hope Elicia (left) and Norman (right) are a bit hardier, though I fear for them since our history with fish does not give much reason for hope.

20 comments:

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Hmm. I well remember the days of winning a goldfish in a little plastic bag at fairs... which always seemed to get put in a bucket, that had usually had weed killer in it..and they always all died.
Here the practice is illegal as fish are protected and cannot be treated as prizes going to homes that are not set up for their survival (at least in New Zealand under our Animal Welfare Act!)Obviously not over your way...
RIP Elias and better luck with the other two!

secret agent woman said...

Well good grief - what fish could live in a tiny plastic cup? Hope the others make it in their bigger home.

G-Man said...

Ghetto Fish!!!

They need to be 'Movin On Up'!

Jazz said...

Poor things must be slowly suffocating in there... I imagine potty heaven will soon have two new lodgers.

jinksy said...

No fishing for compliments allowed on this post...

Desmond Jones said...

"Potty heaven"

(*snortle*)


Out of the mouths of babes. . .

And hey, go ahead an' brag on yer grandfish (altho, I gotta say, that word takes my brain in some very, uh, weird directions. . .)

S said...

LOL Oh my gosh they should outlaw goldfish in salsa cups as prizes. It's just wrong.

Now if I thought my house was small, i live in a palace compared to those fish digs!
:P

Now, removes hat and says a prayer for Elias.

misticblu said...

Yes, have been there myself. Currently have an fish-empty water-full tank in my bathroom. after i flushed the $10 tatooed fish(what was I thinking?) I gave up for a while.
Along those same lines, minime has grandducks!! Only one of the last three made it in their pond home out back and she now has TEN ducklings.
also I have a dye question for you if you could please email me misticblu@msn.com

Cocotte said...

We have fish here who won't die. Amazing what neglect will do to a fish!

Logophile said...

Our carnival fish lived for YEARS!!
Even though Mr. Logo was wishing him ill at first.

Then of course there was the alpha betta who didn't even make it a weekend.

You just never know, must treasure each day before they go to potty heaven
:p

Craver Vii said...

Remember Bill Murray in What About Bob? "Good morning, Gil. I said, good morning, Gil."

Those fish are so lucky they get to got to college. My ten-year-old's fish will never get to live that dream.

Hilary said...

RIP Elias. As for the other two.. Carp Diem. ;)

Suldog said...

I had a goldfish - Davy - who lived years and years in a regular old glass bowl on top of a bookcase. This was in a house that always had at least one cat in it, too. Personally, I think aquariums kill fish :-)

Moannie said...

Haha! I'm so sorry for your loss all you Limes, but Hilary's comment could have come from our David [still sorely missed puns]

Ananda girl said...

Cute story. I have not had good luck with goldfish. However, we are stellar at keeping Betas alive for at least 3 years at a time... a triumph for us. Plus they have actual personalities... I swear it... they do! When Fredrick, aged 4.5 passed I cried. He was a great fish.

(M)ary said...

grandfish: you gave her some bowls....ok. i can see how this is going to play out when you have grandkids. (-;

for a different kind of girl said...

Our fate with fish is about 90 percent of the reason why my kids don't have the dog they so desperately want! When they resign themselves and ask about fish again, I promise to take them to Walmart, where they can look at the fish because it's just easier to look at them there than to flush them away here.

RIP Elias...

Mona said...

LOL! This is so well written, but there is one single mistake. You call yourself grandmother when you should be calling yourself grandfishmother!

Jocelyn said...

I hope she gets all this death stuff out of her system before she actually procreates. EEEK.

Spanish Princess said...

Poor fish! A moment of silence in your honor will be rendered ... O.k. I'm back. I remember growing up my grandmother throught it would be a great idea to get a goldfish for each of us ... that would be 12 children and 12 fish. You'd think that by the 12th child my parents would have figured out a system, but alas, they all passes, one-by-one as each child was under the impression taht they were the only one feeding the fish ... this they each died, belly up and tummies full!