We’ve had our fair share of goldfish. Most of them were won at a local fairs and carnivals so I could understand if they may not have been the healthiest fish in the world. However, I’ve had friends who’ve had pet goldfish like mine that lasted for a dozen years (the fish, not the friends), so maybe it’s not the fish … maybe it’s us. Either way, we haven’t had the best luck with fish to the point where I was afraid if my kid told someone we were on our 11th goldfish in as many months, they would call the fish police on us and they would take away our tank, our air filter, and our goldfish license. (Yes, there is such a thing, but most people own a goldfish without having a license because the length of the license usually outlasts the life of the fish.)
Unlike most people who come up with new names for all their fish, we named all our goldfish “Larry,” because the first one looked like a Larry and all the ones after him looked exactly the same, so we named them all Larry, too. This was never really a problem for us until the handyman came to fix our dishwasher and noticed the fish. When he asked what the fish’s name was, I said, “Larry.”
“Oh, my name is Larry, too,” he replied.
“He’s actually our 11th Larry,” I said.
“What happened to the first 10,” he wondered.
“They didn’t make it,” I replied.
And with that, handyman Larry packed up his tools and left, figuring it wasn’t safe to be in our house if your name is Larry.
While all of this may make it sound like I’ve been a bit cavalier about the death of our fishes, in reality that is not the case. We are all very sad when another one of our fish passes, especially because it usually happens quickly and without warning, giving us no time to mentally prepare for the loss. It’s actually kind of amazing how attached you can get to a fish in only a month, especially if you have taught it little tricks like “fetch” and “roll over.”
Anyway, we finally decided it would help us enormously if we could detect some early signs that the fish was not doing well. So we made a list of warning signs to help us spot a doomed fish.
How to tell if your fish is not going to make it:
1. It is swimming in circles, upside down or sideways, on the top of the tank, or NOT swimming upside down or sideways, on the top of the tank.
2. Someone has written “help” in algae on the inside of the bowl.
3. The other fish have taken up a collection for the memorial service.
4. Your fish gets dropped by his life insurance company.
5. Your dog is waiting patiently by the toilet bowl in case you miss the drop.
Lastly, and most obviously, your fish is probably not going to make it if his name is Larry.
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