“We need your expertise,” a couple of friends of mine said to me when I ran into them at a party. “We just got a couple of goldfish.” I looked at them curiously. Clearly they were not aware of my reputation with goldfish.
“We need your expertise,” a couple of friends of mine said to me when I ran into them at a party. “We just got a couple of goldfish.”
I looked at them curiously. Clearly they were not aware of my reputation with goldfish.
“You want to know how to kill them?” I wondered.
They looked, understandably, horrified.
“There are some things I’m really good at,” I explained. “Keeping fish alive is not one of them.”
I honestly had no idea why they would seek my advice. I was like the Grim Reaper of goldfish. Whether we won them at a street fair, bought them at a pet shop, or inherited them from a friend who was moving away, the end result for fish that came to live in our house was always the same: belly up and burial at sea.
Before my husband and I had kids, we decided to try our hand at parenting small animals to make sure we could handle the responsibility. So imagine my distress when every single one of our fish ended up getting flushed.
“We can’t have children,” I moaned to my husband. “Look what I do to fish!”
“You’ll be fine,” he assured me. “Kids are heartier than goldfish.”
I smiled in relief.
“Just don’t overfeed them and put hot water in their tank.”
“I only did that ONCE!” I proclaimed.
“Uh-huh. Fish killer,” he said under his breath.
Having lost more than my fair share of fish, including some robust goldfish named Vladamir, Jacques, Luigi, Wolfgang Amadeus Goldfish. Ludwig Von Beckerfish and about seven goldfish named Larry, I finally decided to pack up my fish bowl and give up my fish-killing ways. Although I missed the camaraderie of my little fish friends, I was glad not to have to come up with any more meaningful eulogies for our fishy memorial services, explain to my kids that mommy “offed” another goldfish, or avoid the situation altogether by hiding the evidence and replacing the dead fish with look-alike goldfish while the kids were at school.
Fortunately, my track record with fish did not extend to the other pets in the family. The dog was going on 11 years, the chinchilla was 6 and the bearded dragon just celebrated his 8th birthday. Apparently, as long as you didn’t possess a set of gills and fins, you were safe in our house.
Meanwhile, back at the party, the couple with the new goldfish elaborated on their question.
“Actually, you’re not that far off,” said my friends. “Our daughter is really excited about the fish, but she is concerned that she will get attached to them and then they will die.”
I shook my head and smiled.
“Tell her not to worry,” I said. “As long as I don’t come to visit them, they should be fine.”
Follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyinSuburbia.