I remember back when I was a little PT that I always loved to watch fish. When I was in elementary school, my sister and I would bring home goldfish in plastic bags from the Purim Carnival. My mom would dutifully wash out a jar for them. Invariably we’d find them floating belly-up by morning, and then we’d arrange a hasty burial at sea. After this happened a few times, I gave up on my fish dream.
Ten years ago, my kids came back from a Purim Carnival with goldfish of their own, and I decided the time was right to give it another try. So this time, I went with them to the pet store and bought a ten gallon tank, with gravel, a filter, a bubbler, a heater and a light. It made a Gawd-awful racket in the living room, but it was pretty and fun to watch.
The tank had all kinds of problems. It may be more accurate to say that I had all kinds of problems…with maintaining the tank. We had a big algae problem. I probably had it in a spot that got too much sun. We didn’t always match our fish correctly. A group of snails mysteriously vanished one day; all we found were bits of shell. There was high rate of fish turnover. One day, maybe about 6 or 7 years into the life of the tank, The PT, who was 2 or 3, dumped a whole canister of food into it. And that, as they say, was the end of that.
Fast forward a few more years, and now The PT is six, and wants a pet. None of us are interested in taking care of a pet. I’ve blogged about my not being a “pet person.” As far as I’m concerned, The PT served the function of “pet” all by herself. But The PT has a new method for getting us to do what she wants.
“Oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease please pleeeeaaaassssse????”
Frankly, I didn’t think Mrs. B was going to go for it, but she did. I had just gotten home from work, and dinner wasn’t quite ready, and she said something like, “well, that quiche isn’t out of the oven for another 25 minutes; I think we have time to go to the fish store.”
Thirty dollars later we were the proud owners of a new fishbowl with a perky little goldfish in it (and various accoutrements). The PT was so excited that she called up her Bubbie:
The PT: Bubbie guess what!
The PT: Uhhh….I went to the zoo yesterday!
Mrs B (standing next to her): What? That’s not why you called Bubbie!
Bubbie: Oh how nice!
Mrs B: Tell her the real news!
The PT: Well…I think I saw a giraffe!
Bubbie: That’s wonderful! A giraffe! Was it tall?
Mrs B: No! Tell her what happened TODAY!
Bubbie: What happened today?
The PT: Er…well…there’s a water stain on the table…and it looks like an “8.”
Abba: Give me the phone!
Bubbie: That’s wonderful!
The PT: Yeah it’s pretty weird…
Mrs B: TELL HER ABOUT THE FISH!!
The PT: Oh, er, and we, uh, bought a fish.
Well, you get the picture. She was…somewhat excited. By next morning, though, the fish (which she named Goldie) was not doing that well. It was hanging out on the bottom of the bowl and listing off to one side.
Over the next few days, discussions regarding Goldie went mostly like this:
Abba: How’s your fish.
The PT: Still alive.
However, I’m happy to report that Goldie seems to have rallied and appears to be his or her perky old self again. We’ll see how long we can keep this up.