Swim in that big toilet bowl in the sky

Near Darke

By Hank Nuwer

Julia Plessinger decided she wasn’t meant to be a momma fish. Union City, Ind.’s wife and mother kept her children’s fish tank on her kitchen table.

“I would sit and drink coffee and watch the fish every morning,” she said.

But one day she discovered that the aquarium had acquired a special color.

“My two-year-old twins filled the aquarium with sweet tea.”

Luckily, goldfish seem to be one of those hard-to-kill species. She replaced the tea with water, the goldfish’s favorite drink.

Like coyotes, Canada geese, and tellers, goldfish seem indestructible.

That’s why I was shocked a few weeks ago when my wife Gosia and her daughter returned from a local pet store with a brilliant member of the carp family.

I had bought a bunch of freshwater plants for my community aquarium, and the plants were infested with snails.

“The girl from the store said the goldfish ate snails,” Gosia said.

“Yeah,” I conceded. “But it will also eat all the baby ¼ inch guppies.”

“It only costs 16 cents,” Natalia said.

“That’s because it’s a food fish,” I said. “I used to buy dozens of them when I had an Arowana.”

So we set up new Airbnb accommodations for the new family member.

“What are you going to call him?” Uh she? Huh that? asked Gosie.

I told him.

“Hey you?” said Gosia, perplexed. “What kind of name is that?”

“Au, mom,” Natalia explained. “Like the element gold in the periodic table.”

Just as an experiment, I threw snails. They grew quite quickly. At the meal not one.

I read about goldfish.

Japanese samurai believed that fish represented wealth, health and luck.

The Chinese have developed a goldfish with a hideous, bulging body and telescopic eyes that remind me of the nun who caught me reading real detective magazine behind my textbook.

I decided to do an informal survey of friends and neighbors to find out about their experiences with goldfish.

“Mine are all short stories,” admitted Ron Renzoni. “They didn’t live long.”

Now-retired teacher John Brockway told the sweetest story: “In my 36 years teaching fifth grade in Carmel, New York, I always had at least one big aquarium in my class. I found it had a great calming effect on anxious children, like my dentist when I was a kid who had a big tank in the waiting room for nervous clients. Also, in my class, many children volunteered to feed, research, and care for the fish.

Katie Lee killed her own goldfish by overfeeding it. She was amazed when she agreed to babysit a friend’s cat, and there were goldfish there too. “I stood sweating in front of the aquarium re-reading the instructions. Traumatized!” Her husband Andy came to the rescue and fed them for her.

Kat Wheeler said she was still trying to toss ping pong balls into the tiny jars full of fish in colored water. “Dad always came to make sure we won that special prize!”

Alyssa Starkweather said her parents weren’t thrilled when she brought one home from a carnival, but they bought her a fish setup. “Spotty lived 15 years,” she said. “He had lost a fin and all of his (spotted) scales. RIP, Spotty! »

Dave Conner won his fish at a firefighters’ fair. He went to the basement and retrieved a 10-cup coffee urn. “We kept it in the kitchen right next to the real coffee maker.”

My old school girlfriend Elizabeth Brenner Knight had guppies instead of goldfish. They had no plastic greenery, no fake castle.

And probably no damn snails!

Either way, one died “and my mother revealed her cold heart.” She horrified Elizabeth by flushing her down the toilet with diaper poo. When the second fish died, “I walked with her…to make sure the water was clean for the final flush.”

Angela Mapes Turner had a fish fall out of her plastic tank while Angie was driving home from college. With her eyes on the road, she straightened the container and poured ice water from her bottle into the container. Then she stopped at a friend’s sorority house and surprised everyone by shouting, “MY FISH NEEDS WATER!”

Somehow, the “Little Survivor” stayed alive. When he died, she choked up and phoned her father for consolation. “He will swim in this big toilet bowl in the sky,” he said.

Finally, I started wondering how tall Au could get if he lived 15 years (and in a way, I do too).

Evelyn Piazza bought her son Tim a fish that grew to six inches when he left. “He was too big to flush down the toilet, so we buried him in the garden,” she said.

Wow, if my Au gets so big, I change my name.

To Goldzilla.

Hank Nuwer is an author, columnist and playwright. He and his wife Gosia live on the Indiana side of the Union City state line. The views expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these views or the independent activities of the author.

Comments are closed.