Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Story About Fish

When I was in college, my dorm-mates and I peeled ourselves from our beds one Sunday morning, and headed to the girl’s bathroom where we were faced with fish.

Tens of goldfish were swimming around in the toilets. They’d swim through the pipes, popping up in random bowls.

We called in the RA in to assess the situation.

“Yup, those are goldfish,” she assessed.

We started discussing what to do. “Flush them” was the general consensus.

I’m no animal lover. I mean, I like animals, but not those with slime or scales, or those that eat bugs, or those with an instinct to burrow, or those with the word “naked” in their name, or those that breath fire.

But the thought of 40 goldfish being flushed as if they were sucked into the mighty craw of Charybdis, was just too much for me and for my roommate, who was an animal lover, and even liked animals with slime, or scales, or that ate bugs, or burrowed, or with the word “naked” in their name, or those that breathed fire.

“NOOOOOO!!!!!” we cried. “Don’t flush them!”

“Why not?”

“They’re alive!”

“Well, you figure out what to do with them.”

I borrowed a small plastic aquarium net from a guy who actually had a fish tank, and spent the next 3 hours carefully scooping fish out of the toilets and into various cups and bowls filled with water.

Finally, I found about 20 people willing to adopt a couple of toilet fish. My roommate and I each kept one as well. We named them Mr. Hanky and Michael Jackson.

Problem was, we didn’t have a fish bowl. We were able to find some fish food at a local Walgreens, but we couldn’t buy a fish bowl because there were no pet stores within walking distance.

We decided to wait until the next weekend to take a bus to a pet store. In the meantime we kept the fish in a plastic water pitcher. Hey, it’s better than the toilet, right?


For a few days all was well. Mr. Hanky and Michael Jackson swam around their new home, eating all the fish flakes they wanted. I think I saw Mr. Hanky smile and nod once.

But then we started noticing tiny bubbles...lots of tiny bubbles hanging around our fish, and in the water.

The next morning we were dismayed to find Michael Jackson laying on his side at the bottom of the pitcher. By that evening both fish were dead, and we were forced to flush them back down the toilet from whence they came.

I think I should just avoid live fish altogether. It always seems to end in disaster.