Friday, January 30, 2009

A Fish With No Name

Two years ago this month, we acquired a beta fish. My husband's company traditionally holds its holiday party in January. This particular year, the centerpieces were beautiful floral wreaths, and in the center of each was a lovely glass bowl containing a beta fish. As is the custom, the centerpieces were given to one lucky(?) recipient at each table.

I was delighted to carry home my prize that evening. I truly was pleased, because Em had been asking for a fish (and a cat, and a dog, and a horse, and a monkey) for AGES, and she was just thrilled with her surprise. For about two days.

Since then, it has become my fish. For the past 728 days, it has been mine to feed and clean and to balance on my lap when we moved across town last summer. It has no name. No one has had an interest in it long enough to give it one. It is simply the fish.

I can't help but wonder if it has grown as tired of us as we are of him. My oldest son tells me that goldfish have a three second memory. If this is true, and since betas look a lot like goldfish, so they must be related, then every time the fish swims around the bowl, he thinks he's in a new place. He must be thrilled to discover his little ceramic treasure chest over and over throughout the day. And each time he comes upon his little Easter Island statue, he must think he's on another vacation.

For the first year, I was very careful to tend to the fish by the book. I lugged home artesian drinking water by the gallon and made sure it was brought to room temperature before I refreshed his bowl. Then, I decided if tap water is good enough for me, it should be good enough for him. So I would fill a pitcher and let it sit for several hours to come to room temperature. Now, I just run the water in the sink until it feels about right and throw him in.

If it weren't for my sister-in-law, the fish would be long gone by now. With a three second memory, think how fun the city sewer system would be for him. But, my SIL is a strong believer in karma, and she will escort a fly out the door before swatting it. The thought of doing something naughty to this fish, and what it would do to my soul, is more than I can bear.

Besides, for a fish, he has quite a personality. If I hold a piece of food between my thumb and forefinger, he will follow it all around his bowl. He'll back up, and even sway from side to side. And. . .he let's me pet him. AND, when I come in the kitchen, he will watch me, going around and around his bowl. I guess, since he has a three second memory, he always thinks I'm somebody new.

So, finally, the point of this post. My first contest ever. Name that fish. Whoever comes up with the best name, wins the fish! I will mail him anywhere in the continental U.S. Just include a SASE with your entry. You may enter as many times as you like. If you win and do not claim your prize, may 1,000 betas swim up your pipes and clog your plumbing.


Becky said...

I am laughing off my chair. You are hilarious. The thrill of the city sewer system for a fish with 3 second memory had me crying!!!

Oh, heavens! I had a beta fish when I was teaching. I lived 3 years and his name was Jonah. And I have no stamps to send a SASE to you so if I win you can give my prize to the cutest neighbor boy or girl you can find. Hmmmmm.

Joanne said...

It sounds to me like that pretty little fish has stolen your heart! And the way it watches you, swimming around its bowl, I think you have stolen it's heart as well. You should call it Valentine. (But I'll pass on the SASE. We had a fish here once, a little goldfish. It's amazing how much work they are!)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like our story with Kirby the fish.

Shelby got him about a year and a half ago then lost all interest. I've been keeping him since. He's gotten so big - he must be about 6 inches long now - maybe longer. He's outgrown 3 tanks and is about ready to burst out of a 15 gallon tank.

For some reason, he likes to get mouthfuls of pebbles from the bottom of the tank and then spit them into the little artificial plants. Doing this stirs up the bottom of the tank and the water gets really cloudy, forcing a water change every few days.

I'm about ready to put him and his tank on Craig's list!

Kirby got his name because he sucks up food just like my Kirby vacuum cleaner!

I'm not suggesting a name for your fish - I don't want to win your contest!

Sharon said...

No names here, either...I've been a content pet-less person for y-e-a-r-s, and wouldn't want to break that streak -- although a fish would still be ahead of cats or dogs ;)

Great story, Karen!! Blessings on your weekend,

Susanne said...

LOL. He likes you! My daughter says to call it Sushi. But if we win I'll let you know right now we live in Canada so feel free to take the name for free! ;v)

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

LOL! 3 second memory!

We can't seem to keep a fish alive longer that about 2 weeks, so I am really impressed with your fish tending abilities!


BClark said...

I have had Betas off and on for years, they are such pretty fish. Unfortunatly they do not live for a very long time. I would suspect yours was reaching the end of it's life. It is probably thanking you for taking such good care of it. I still have all the additives for the water to make mine healthy. Some where along the line I will probably get some more. I find it very relaxing to watch them swish around their tanks. For his color, I guess you could call him Rusty. Just a little info, the reason for not using tap water is the clorine in the water. If you let the water sit for a day or so it is then safe.

Judy said...

You really are too too funny!

Although, I AM out of cat food...

Kim said...

You are an amazing fish owner! Two years without a death? We have barely gone 2 months with out having to perform the sacred flush. We have 2 cats now who might not take kindly to your fish arriving in our home. Besides, even though I am married to a mailman I sadly have no stamps for that SASE. :) are hilarious and I so enjoyed reading this post.

Renna said...

Should I win, you can just go ahead and send 'Mortimer' to the runner-up! ;-Þ

I'm impressed..really! I've never kept a fish alive that long. It's a good thing fish care wasn't a prerequisite for parenting, or I'd never have been allowed to have kids.

Robin said...

What a sweet and funny story! And although I think I will pass on the prize, I think the name Retro is appropriate.
Thanks for making me laugh first thing today!

diana said...

lol. too funny.

i do believe that poor fish needs a name but i'm not going to enter your contest. we just flushed *gasp* our beta. they are hardy little fish. ours was named peter... BUT THAT IS NOT AN ENTRY! =D

gail@more than a song said...

Oh you're too funny! I will have to pass on the seems I've inherited a cat that should belong to my daughter but she will never really take with her!

Trailboss said...

Since it is a "beta" fish you should name it "VHS"

Darlene said...

Nice blog. I found it on Judith's blog. I'll be back.

Cute post about your fish. Three second memory, intetesting.

You could name him "Buddy", for that sounds like what he has become to you. I like the VHS name too.

No, I'm not interested in "the fish". My cat "Charlie" would think he won the lottery, when I wasn't looking.