Ode To A Fish

Betta fishMy daughter’s fish died today. (Actually, it died a couple of days ago and has been rotting in its tank ever since; I just haven’t had the oppurtunity to break the news to her.) It was a good fish. Its name was Fishy Fish (like a new doll is “Dolly doll”, dog stuffed animal is “Doggy Dog”, etc.). It was a blood, red betta, bought six months ago at Wal-mart. I’m surprised it lasted this long because it’s had a couple adventures, like this one:

While cleaning its tank out last week it flopped out of the dipper I was using to scoop him out. It landed on the counter, slid onto the top of the dishwasher door which was partially open, then down into a hole in the dishwasher door used to lock the door into position. That’s right, INSIDE THE DISHWASHER DOOR. Stupid fish. So my daughter sees all this with growing horror and start crying for its fate. “I’ll save it, I’ll save it – don’t give up hope yet!”, I bravely try to reassure her. I run downstairs to get a screwdriver, bang my knee on some table, slip on the kitchen floor while coming back (due to our trying to clean the tank), and scramble to take the door apart. Two minutes have gone by, at least. I rip the door apart and see the stupid fish there staring at me, gulping at air. I pick him up and put him back in the tank, and it starts swimming around like nothing happened. That was one tough fish.

So, before pointing out Fishy Fish’s deadness to my daughter I casually mentioned to her a couple of times a day that Fishy Fish will eventually die and that we’ll have to bury it. Finally the moment was right and we looked at the aquarium together, and she cried.

“Fishy Fish was a good fish, but he was probably old or sick,” I said. “I’ll bury him in the garden tonight.”

“Okay, Daddy. And he was a good fish.”

The next day she asked where I buried him. “In the garden,” I say.

“Can I see him?”

“No, he’s going to turn into dirt and help the vegetables grow, like your carrots.”

“Turn into dirt?! Wow. He’s still a good fish!”

“Daddy of the Year” here I come!