So nine million years ago, we won a fish at the fair. I don't know, maybe it was 3 or 4 years ago but same difference.
Let me preface this by saying that I want to be a fish person. I like fish. I frequently suggest we replace our television with a fish tank because who gives a crap about t.v.? But apparently you can't play video games on a fish tank and that is a constant sticking point to this plan.
The other issue is that I'm not the greatest at taking care of fish. I feel like if we had fish more beautiful and interesting than Mr. Gobbles the fair fish, who I clearly did not name, that I would feel more attached. He's not even cute, he's hardly even orange.
Mr. Gobbles used to live in the kids' bathroom and at one point, tired of changing his nasty water and asking people if he'd eaten, I spent several weeks fantasizing about becoming the Dr. Kevorkian of fish. My plan was to flush him, tell the kids that he died, and then relish in my everlasting freedom. I seriously considered this. Often. Once I even got up and retrieved his little net so I could scoop him up and murder him but I chickened out at the last minute. I also considered dumping him in a pond but thought that was a certain, even scarier death than a quick flush, and also too much work.
(Don't send me the articles about goldfish messing up the ecosystem because of dumb asses who do this, I've read them.)
Finally, I realized I just don't have what it takes to be a cold-blooded killer and moved the little fucker to a corner of the kitchen where he could be properly supervised.
Every morning and every evening, Mr. Gobbles would get so excited to see me because his stupid little fish brain equates me with his food source. He'd squiggle and swim around the front of the tank and open and close his mouth idiotically. Ugh.
I kind of stopped hating him, though. I wouldn't say I loved him, but I gave up on my plans to orchestrate his demise and no longer minded the act of feeding him.
This weekend I was cleaning the little asshole's tank and I was rushed and careless about it, because as I had learned during my period of murderous intentions, Mr. Gobbles is a hardy little jerk who won't die on his own.
I mean, I added water conditioner and made him hang out in a Ziploc as he acclimated to the temperature but not as strictly as I would for a fish I loved. I sort of just dumped him back into his water so I could go about my day and stop thinking about the little waste of space.
As I re-entered the kitchen for a snack, I saw Mr. Gobbles floating sideways at the top of the tank, slowly gasping for air.
It was the scene I had been hoping for, had envisioned for so long...and what did I do? Did I calmly and quietly turn away and wait for the deed to be done? Did I thank the sweet baby Jesus for calling Mr. Gobbles home, ending the inane torture of his daily life for both of us?
No. No, I did not.
I became overwhelmingly sad. I frantically googled for solutions to this situation. I paced back and forth and loudly blamed myself for his impending death. I frantically dragged his aquarium outside into the sun, splashing his gross fish water on my clean clothes in an effort to warm him up.
I BOILED A FREAKING PEA AND MASHED IT UP AND FED IT TO HIS STUPID SELF. I did that -- the internet told me to. I barely cook for my kids and here I was, cooking for a stupid fish who I hated.
Big Kid and I checked on him every five minutes. I swore that if he survived, I would buy him a nice hidey-hole rock and look into a bigger tank. I would check the ph of his water and change it the suggested way instead of the easy way. I would feed him a boiled pea every week and I would never dump too much food in and hope he OD'd, as I've been known to do in the past.
Within an hour, Mr. Gobbles was back up and swimming. He even looked a little more orange.
And then I considered how nice the corner of my kitchen looked without him in it.
I dragged him back inside, splashing his gross fish water on myself again and set him back up in his spot, where I feed him twice a day and am reluctantly glad he's alive.