15 September 2007

About Super

Yes, this spotlight is going to be about my wonderfully resilient fish, Super. I rescued him and 3 of his pals from a wedding table centerpiece five years ago. I don't enjoy pets, but my tender little heart couldn't stand the thought of all these fish being flushed alive. I had to do something. I took them home and bought them a large glass bowl. I didn't realize that the proper protocol for putting fish in a fish bowl is that there should be one gallon of water to every fish. I think I bought a one gallon bowl for all 4. My bad. I named them Super, Duper, Frick, and Fly. And yes, I could tell them apart. They had very distinctive markings. I pay attention to those things. I remember coming home each day from school and wondering when I was going to find one, or all four, belly up. I mean, these were ten cent goldfish from Petsmart. I'm sure they weren't the highest quality of goldfish ever produced. As a kid, I recall winning my share of these fish at various carnival events and they wouldn't even last the night. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Those months became a year, and those fish were still kicking. All 4 of them! I must say that I was a very attentive caretaker at the time. I fed them at the same time everyday. I also blew oxygen into their bowl through a straw daily so as not to get stagnant water. I changed their water frequently. I even switched out their bowl decorations every now and then to eliminate the depression that inevitably comes when things stay the same for too long. But after that first year, they started to die off, and in an order where the name still made sense. Duper was the first to croak. Super Frick and Fly were left. Then Frick kicked the bucket. He was survived by Super Fly. Super and Fly were together for quite a while. At that point I decided to invest in a fish tank. They earned it. Their longevity amazed me. Fly died about two years ago, leaving Super by himself. The tragic part is that he got too weak to swim and was sucked up into the filter. I remember coming in that night after hanging out with "The Blondes" and not being able to find him. I finally saw him with half his body inside the filter and the other half just swinging limply out. My tender little heart! I had a real hard time seeing him that way. I called Natalie (it was 1 am) who immediately came over and pried his body from the filter. She understood the delicacy of the situation and told me that I should probably leave the room while she did the extraction. I agreed. That's a true friend right there. We had a little memorial service near the toilet and then the ceremonial flushing. We did go to the store the next day to try and find the surviving Super some new tank mates. We picked out two winners. I named them Boom-Boom (after Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam tour) and Ya-Ya (after the kid in The Sandlot). They didnt last the week. But it was ok. I didn't have enough time to get attached to them. I still have Super. I feel a little guilty because I haven't been taking very good care of him lately. I left for Girl's Camp without asking a neighbor to come over and feed him. How could I have forgotten that? I came back and he was swimming sideways. He bounced back pretty quick. One month I forgot to change his filter (I do it on the first of each month) and his water started to turn cloudy and brown. It didn't effect him. He's so incredibly resilient. I conditioned him to come to the top of the tank whenever I turn on his tank light. The only time I turn on that light is when I feed him. He knows. And he comes and gets it. Sometimes I tease him and just turn on the light for kicks and giggles. I should probably stop that though. I don't want him to develop trust issues with me.
He's a good pal. Come over and meet him if you haven't already. You just might get smitten. I know I am.


lydia said...

One of the blondes once told me about Super Duper Frick and Fly! What awesome names! Super sounds...well, super!
I too have a fish story. In my Stress Management class about 3 years ago the group covering pet therapy brought us all a 19 cent gold fish. Mike and I were in an apartment that didn't allow pets, but we managed to get away with it. We named him Herbie.
Herbie's life started in a quart jar, but then out of pity we got him a one gallon tank, some rocks, and some fake plants. Herbie seemed a little lonely, so we invested in a love interest for him. We named her Esmeralda. It truly was love at first sight!! They quickly outgrew that little tank and we got all big time and upgraded to a ten gallon tank, with some rock formations and a "Keep Out" sign. I know, I know. Big time.
Over the next two years fish came and fish went. But Herbie was always the constant and his two years of life were famous among our peer groups.
When we went to Thailand last summer, we had some relatives fish sit for us. We also happened to be moving at the time and put all of our stuff in storage, so we decided to just take the tank to their house while we were gone. Tragically, Herbie and Jimbo died within a couple of days, due (we think) to our screwing up the water by almost emptying the whole tank while we transported it. Knowing how much these guys meant to us, my brother froze the fish as a way of keeping them fresh for a proper burial upon our arrival. We had a similar ceremony around the toilet, but in Herbie's two wonderful years of life he had grown to about five or so inches in length and we therefore feared that flushing him would clog up the system.
Long live Herbie, Fred, Esmeralda, Jasmine, Jimbo, Blue, El Chupador, Duper, Frick, Fly, Boom-Boom, and Ya-Ya. We miss you.

Natalie said...

A brilliant tribute to my dear friend Super! He is a tough little guy isn't he? I absolutely loved this post. How many times do I say that about the stuff you write?
I also feel that we could all take a lesson from Vanessa - and now Lydia - on how cool names increase the self esteem of goldfish and thereby increase their will to live. Well done on the fish names, ladies. Well done.