What is the lifespan of a fish?
The other day my daughter mentioned that she would like to get a lizard or some other reptile for a pet (even though we have four cats). As I said “Oh, hell no”, “Maybe someday, Sweetie”, I suddenly remembered another pet my kids just had to have – a fish we called Arthur.
When the suggestion of another fish came up in discussion, I was hesitant, as I was always the one who ended up taking care of our two previous fish “Ooey” and “Louie” (don’t blame me – the kids named them!), and of course, I was also the one who had to dispose of them when it was their time to go.
However, I did finally give in, as parents often do. We purchased Arthur at a pet store and we bought him the standard round fish bowl, decked it out with colored rocks, fake plants, etc. He happily lived on the top of the tall bookcase in my son’s room. Life was good. I became quite fond of Arthur.
One day, while I was downstairs, I heard a horrible crashing sound coming from upstairs. I damn near killed myself began running toward the sound. As I approached my son’s room, a slightly freaked out cat darted out of the room between my legs. I looked toward the bookcase to see Arthur’s fishbowl on the rug, water seeping out, and poor Arthur flopping around helplessly. ACK! I quickly grabbed the bowl, and filled it with the proper water and scooped Arthur back in. He was okay – whew! Yes, my cat had somehow managed to get to the very top of the bookcase (til this day, I still do not know how), and flung the fishbowl off the top. Or perhaps he was fishing his paw around in the bowl and it “accidentally” slipped off.
About a month later, it was time for the dreaded fishbowl cleaning…one of my least favorite jobs. Oh, and just FYI – when kids say to you, “Really, I p-r-o-m-i-s-e that I will take care of it”, do not believe it. Kids have been using that line for years, and it sounds great at first. The belief that you will be teaching them responsibility overcomes you, and you say “yes”. After the novelty of the new pet has worn off, your positive feelings about responsibility are quickly thrown out like yesterday’s garbage. But….I loved Arthur, so I really didn’t mind.
I carefully take Arthur and his “crib” to my bathroom where I have a large counter top (I also store all of his supplies in my cabinet). I have a small bowl that I used to keep Arthur in while I was doing the cleaning. I scoop Arthur out, and put him in his little bowl of water, while I am rinsing his big fishbowl. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a splash and a plop. Arthur has jumped out of the small bowl and is jumping around on the counter, and slips into my curling iron (don’t worry – it is not hot!). What a mess…of course there are those stray hairs that stick on the curling iron, and they are now sticking on Arthur. I carefully unfurl Arthur from the hair and curling iron, and I am just about to plunk him back into the bowl, when he slips out of my hands and falls head first into the baseboard that has separated from the wall. CRAP!
I scream for my son, as the thought of pulling him out by his tail is completely freaking me out. My son dashed into the room at a frantic pace and he saw the carnage. Without hesitation he pulled Arthur out and he safely returned Arthur to his home…in water…where he belongs.
Arthur lived an amazingly long life (especially considering all that he had been through). When he finally passed away, I have to admit, I was quite heartbroken (not crying heartbroken, but still). I swore we would not have any fish again in the future, and we haven’t had one since.
Little Arthur – you were an amazing guy. I will never forget you.
If you love pet stories, check out the antics of my nutty cat Newman!