Monday, June 05, 2006

Belly Up

I won a goldfish once at a carnival. I had never had a fish before, but I looked online for instructions on how to care for my new pet.

The first time I changed the water in his bowl, I carefully poured him into a cup with some of the old water while I washed out the bowl and refilled it with clean water. I added the recommended number of drops of whatever that solution was, and it was fit for inhabitance once again.

But then I had a thought — I couldn’t pour the old, dirty water into the new, clean water. That would defeat the purpose of the cleaning I had just completed. And furthermore, my little fish had been swimming around in his own filth. So I decided he should have a bath before he went back into his freshly-cleaned home.

I ran some room-temperature water, gently cupped him in my hands, and ran him underneath the stream twice, back and forth. Then I gently slid him into his clean bowl.

But he just floated there, on his side. I thought maybe he was in shock, or scared, or maybe he was playing possum. But when he still didn’t move after a few minutes, I realized I had killed him.

Regrettably, this was only a couple of years ago. So I can’t even blame childhood innocence for my crime. Thankfully, dogs are much easier to care for. And way more fun to have around.