Monday, March 10, 2008

My fighting (for his life) fish

So, I'm faced with a troubling situation about my fighting fish Wally (whose name is short for "Wallflower" 'cause he lives in a bowl nailed to the wall near my bed -- see photo). Here's the deal...

Before I left to spend Christmas with the fam, I wanted to be sure Wally was all set with fresh, clean water. I brought his bowl into the bathroom to do a quick water change per our usual. And that's where the crisis and my current predicament began.

Since I got Wally over 3 years ago, he's developed a knack for launching himself out of the net when I transfer him from the bowl to his holding tank (a small cup on the side of the sink). Trouble is, I don't have a parachute or a stunt double for him and he ends up landing on the bathroom floor.

It's happened like 3 times now out of the 40 times I've changed the water. Each time he does it, I shriek for 5 seconds while desperately trying to delicately pick him up and put him back in the holding tank (with him doing the quiver the entire time, of course). Within an hour, he shakes off the dust bunnies and shock as though nothing ever happened (he's got to keep his tough guy image as a fighting fish, ya know).

This last time before Christmas, however, was longer than 5 seconds. He'd wedged himself far in the dark corner behind the sink. It felt like 3 minutes (but was probably 15-20 seconds) before I finally got him back in the tank. I wished for Santa Claus to bring him new gills and left for the week, hoping I'd find him okay when I got back.

I thought it was good news to find him alive, if not still dazed, when I returned. I now realize that perhaps it was bad news. It's been over 3 months now and he hasn't sprung back; instead, his health has been on a slow decline ever since. I guess my wish should've been for Santa to flush him down the toilet?

And that's where the problem is: I can't flush a fish that's still alive down the toilet! I think Wally has a right to live and who am I to take that away? I like him, too. I looked forward to falling asleep while watching him swim angrily above my head, cursing me and my ability to close my eyes.

But, a big part of me also thinks the life Wally has now may not be worth living. His breathing is very labored and he hasn't eaten in over a month (I give him food pellets that dissolve in the bowl but I can't imagine it's been helpful). His latest thing is flipping completely over on his backside and laying on the bottom of the tank for hours...still breathing, still fighting.

Every night, I watch him intently for signs of improvement but then resign myself to the hard truth that he is dying. What. A. Slow. Death. Seriously, I don't think even I could hang on this long if I fell off a building and drowned for 20 seconds immediately after (the human equivalent of his accident).

So, I keep looking for a sign like Terri Schiavo's image in my toast. Nothing. I'm torn between the right to live and the right to die. What would Jesus do? What would YOU do?

On second thought, I shouldn't claim to be all that concerned about ethics. I mean, if I did, would I keep a fish imprisoned in a bowl nailed to the wall?

p.s. yes, I keep a kamikazi fish in the same bedroom that I keep the pet crickets (see previous "Jiminy Crickets!" blog). Speaking of which, here's the news from that side of the room...

The Cricket Update
I started with 10 (or was it 11? am I a bad pet owner?) and can now only verify that 3 are still in there. Not sure if the survivors ate the others or what. I give them food and refresh their "water pillow" once a week so maybe it was the low humidity? [shrug]

As for the 3 who have made it this far, two are female and one is male (he's either very happy about it or, if he is in fact a homosexual deaf mute, not too happy). The females, of course, are KICKIN' ASS! Their legs/antennae are approaching cockroach levels of grossness. In fact, my crickets are so big that I can almost see their wings! (As you may recall, a cricket's wings are the source of that wonderful noise I've been dying to hear all these years as I fall asleep.)

But, alas, to date: NOT A SINGLE CHIRP. Just the sound of my brain caught in an endless loop of "should I flush Wally?" "no, Wally is one of God's creatures!" like some goddamn right-to-life protest.


Dan the Man said...

Isn't the real question WWWD (What Would Wally Do)?

If the real Wally was here, he would know what to do with Wally the fish. Of course, his solution would probably be to feed the fish to Hobbs. Is Eve licking her chops?

Maybe what you need to do is reverse the spell. Have you tried changing the water since the pre-x-mas incident?

Punkapoo said...

Actually, Wally the fish died while I was in FL last week but you're right -- I should've asked Wally what to do about Wally!

Funny story: Tania told Aflred about my fish blog. She left out the part that Wally was a fish and Fito thought that the human Wally was dying.