Friday, November 20, 2009


Some odd, recent fish talk has me immersed in deep analysis on the topic of goldfish. These gilled creatures, often admired in pet shops and homes, can serve as wonderful companions. Small enough to fit in a bowl or numerous enough to fit in a large tank, goldfish are often a child's best friend or a cat's entertainment. They live well alone and can get along with others.

I recently told a friend of mine that I wanted to get a cat. Unfortunately, the last time I had a cat, I was traveling so much for work that I wasn't home a lot. Eventually, the cat got mad at me and soaked my carpets with spontaneous urinary reminders. It was a painful bill to pay as I vacated my apartment, watching the carpet installers replacing the carpet in the spot she had chosen to remind me of her displeasure. Amazing how animals communicate their dissatisfaction. My friend - the one who I told about my recent desire to obtain a new feline friendie - advised me to get a goldfish. A goldfish. As an avid fisherwoman, I have difficulty with this idea.

How selfish is it to assume that a goldfish could possibly be happy in life when it is brought into this world only to share a large aquarium with lots of other fish and then be snatched up by a small net and placed into a plastic bag, only to spend the rest of its life alone in a small bowl on someone's dresser? And for what pleasure? Of watching people walk by, stick their face close to the tank and make funny faces? Or drifting to the surface twice a day to suck a few flakes of processed fish food? If I were a goldfish, I would jump right out of the tank and hop to the toilet or a nearby drain (similar to the concept illustrated in Finding Nemo).

Just today, I learned from a co-worker that he used to feed goldfish to his snake. He would leave them by the snake and it would slowly slither in and grab the fish. I had no idea that snakes desired fish, but a highly discernable palate is not surprising for a species that may have once survived on less.

Goldfish have an interesting predicament - life in a bowl or life in a belly? Which would you choose? Personally, I would run and hide every time the lid lifted in the store.

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