The other night my wife and I talked to our daughter about increased responsibility. I hinted that if she could show an increased interest in tending to the needs of our cat, then maybe she could get a fish. I was just throwing out ideas, not committing to anything. My wife took umbrage and told me that such a decision needed to be discussed, not just casually tossed out.
The next day my wife took my daughter to buy a fish.
She still doesn’t feed the damn cat.
Of course, three days after the purchase, the fish was dead. This happens. My daughter scoured the internet looking for what she did wrong, and since no site about the maintenance and upkeep of two-dollar goldfish ever just flat-out says “These fuckers just up-and-die sometimes,” she was distraught.
So we bought her another one (technically she bought it herself, but a child’s money, regardless of where she got it—chores, theft, blackmail—is still subject to parental purchase-approval, so it’s still technically the parents’ money).
So far this fish is fine, but it got me thinking about how pets come to reside in homes. Sometimes, it’s the adult’s decision. Some people are animal-people (which sounds like True Blood but that’s not what I mean).
My wife and I are not. We have a cat. It was my decision, but a calculated one. Cats, to a large degree are the least time-intensive pets one can have. Hermit crabs are harder to maintain. And I thought if we got a relatively self-sustaining creature, my kids would shut the fuck up about more animals in the house.
And this is how it happens. You start with a fish and the fish dies, so you buy another one but the fish is “lonely”. (The fish is not lonely, by the way. Fish don’t get lonely. Fish get hungry and fish get dead. That’s it.) So you buy another fish. The fish (plural) starts making too much poop so now you need one of those disgusting sucker fish to eat the poop. The sucker fish is bullshit, doesn’t eat anything, so you buy a filter but the fucking filter is too big for the old bowel so you have to buy a new, bigger bowel. Lots of space—acreage, really, to a fish—so the fish are lonely again and you buy more fish.
In three months you’re building a fucking ark in the backyard.
That is science.
Is this how God got Noah to do it? Genesis is surprisingly succinct about the flood. It’s like a chapter-and-a-half. They had to cut things out. Did it start with God saying “Can you build me a birdhouse?” Did Noah begin with a fish and a cat and God said “They look lonely. Let’s make it two.”
Oh well. Now we have two fish and a cat.
Watch for storm clouds.