Saturday, March 29, 2008

Today's fresh fish

I’ve been mulling over an odd question for the last two days: what is an appropriate amount of time to mourn the loss of a pet fish before buying a new one?

I guess if I was religious, I could turn to a belief for an answer -- it’s good for stuff like that. Hindu? 13 days. Jewish? 1 week. Muslim? 3 days. Daytime Dramish? 2 minutes (5 if your fish is in a coma or believed lost at sea).

It’s been 10 days since I returned from FL to find that Wally the Fighting-for-His-Life Fish died while I was gone (so I’m not even sure about the date I’d begin counting from as part of a mourning period). Faced with an empty bowl on my bedroom wall and nothing to dictate my mourning period, I followed my gut (and aesthetic values) and headed to PETCO today.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time examining the 20+ fighting fish on display. Before his agonizing death, Wally had lived nearly 3 years (so this new fish could be staring at me night after night for years to come). I stared at each fish, gauged how I felt if they stared back and then gave a thumbs up or down.

Out of respect, I was also very cognizant of a need for one that didn’t look like Wally (despite the sane half of my brain saying, "get another red one and call it a day before I imagine a bus and throw myself in front of it"). But so many colors to choose from! Purple, light purple, blue, dark blue, greenish teal and multicolored, even! It was too much for someone who deliberated six months over a paint color for a 5’ x 9’ dining room wall.

Luckily, I’d stopped and shopped in Stop n’ Shop across the street before hitting PETCO so there were frozen goodies in the car to consider. I finally settled on a vibrant blue one because he did so well in the "fin off." (Similar to a "walk off" in modeling where two models strut to see who will make the show, I’d held a "fin off" by positioning top candidates next to each other to see whose fins would flare best and who had the most moxie. At that point, the sane half of my brain was hit by an imaginary bus and died.)

I’ve since named him "Fresh" (get it? as in "fresh fish") and am very happy with him so far. He’s fiesty and flashes the same "hateful humans, shutting your eyes for hours at a time!" look that Wally used to give me every morning. I don’t feel bad about getting him 10 days after flushing Wally so I guess I’m doing alright by my own religion.

"Fresh" in his spacious new digs, staring at the dinky contraption he'd spent God-knows-how-long in before I saved him from an anonymous death in it at PETCO.

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