When I was a kid I had a pet crab named Herman, the Hermit Crab. As far as crabby personalities go, Herman was a star
fish among them. He lived an extraordinarily long life, considering he would climb to the top of his wire cage, hang there for a few a minutes, and then fall to the bottom of his cage with a shell-rattling crash. He did this over and over again.
Perhaps I drove him to cage-climbing OCD?
I’m still not sure if I am to blame.
Herman suffered severe brain damage from his repeated falls. I was well-practiced in my psychotherapy skills by the age of ten, so I feel certain I can make the brain damage assumption.
Herman dined on a limited diet of peanut-butter on the half-shell and tap water. Apparently my parents
were too cheap to buy me crab food pellets believed in creative meal substitution, but Herman didn’t mind one bit. In fact, I think he preferred peanut-butter to crab food, especially when I smeared it on a Ritz cracker.
butter+smooth peanuts+salt = fine dining
If you’re a crab.
I felt a certain bond to Herman, the kind of bond that some children have with their pet dog or perhaps the house cat. One day I found his naked body outside of his shell. Herman was ugly in death.
I mourned the loss of a cage rattling friend.
When my daughter was four years-old, she experienced such a loss.
Repeatedly she begged for a pet fish, so like any other loving mother trying to stall first fish love, I told her that if she kept her room clean for an entire summer, I would buy her a fish.
Four year-old clean is not the same as mother clean, but she worked at it everyday. Proudly she’d bring me into her room to show me her orderly chaos. As luck would have it, her mom’s housekeeping is not so different from her four year-old definition of clean. So, I bought her a fish, a Beta Fish.
My daughter named him/her Necklace. For simplicities sake, we’ll call Necklace a her. I just cannot imagine an him appreciating the name Necklace.
Necklace was loved, talked to, and severely over fed. She could only live so long eating two and a half pounds of fish food a day. Betas only grow so big.
When necklace passed from tap water unto death, my daughter cried. My husband spoke a blessing and flipped her into the woods, not the burial at sea she deserved, but heartfelt none the less.
The time of mourning passed through our home rather quickly, but Necklace’s memory lived on in the form of a construction paper and marker drawing. We hung the drawing over Necklace’s empty bowl and packed it up when we moved.
Necklace is forever fishyfied in child
Recently my daughter has been begging and pleading for a fish. The inevitable will come. Another fish will eventually swim in her bowl. Today we went on a fish fact-finding mission to Pet Smart. Oh, the fish you can see in Pet Smart!
Did you know they are classified under Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced?
I actually found this class system helpful. After all, I am looking for a fish with a high tolerance of child. Remember the little girl on Finding Nemo?
My daughter is looking for a fish who will follow her finger when she touches the bowl. The follow the finger skill will determine which fish lives in my home. I wonder is that a beginner, intermediate, or advanced skill?
Do you have fish?
Advice is welcome.
So on this Monday, Memorial Day, just keep swimming friends.
And don’t become SHARK BAIT!