I like aquariums. I like aquariums to the point where if someone were to ask my friends what I like, they would respond, “Oh, Lori? Yeah, she likes writing, books, soccer, pizza, cookies. And she wants to get married in an aquarium. Possibly to a merman.”
Have you ever seen pictures of those underwater hotels? There are ones in Fiji and Dubai, among other places. I don’t want to visit those hotels. I want to storm in there with my three cats like Daenerys Targaryen with her three dragons and make that shit my kingdom.
Now that you are adequately convinced that I’m insane, I have a confession to make. I don’t own a fish at the moment. I don’t have the patience to actually take care of a legitimate aquarium (read Amanda’s blog to see how much work it is or Allyssa’s blog to learn about the emotional toll of fish ownership), and I don’t have it in me to lose another fishy friend in another horrific manner.
So to fill my aquatic obsession, here is a chronological list of the most important fish in my life, and how I lost them:
All my fellow Jews out there know that Purim is the best holiday. You get to dress up, eat cookies (hamantaschen <3), and, most importantly, go to the Purim carnival. And you know what you get at the Purim carnival? Goldfish. One of my siblings won a fish and named him Baloney. And, in my head, he lived for like 8 years. It was probably only 2 or 3, but I feel like it was forever. He wasn’t mine specifically, but I loved him all the same. And then my mom brought him to her nursery school classroom as a pet. At the end of the year, she gave Baloney to her assistant, whose children decided he needed a friend. That was the last thing he needed. Those “friends” had some fish disease that murdered my poor Baloney. And, yes, that is actually the most ridiculous sentence I have ever written.
I don’t remember where I got Fred. Possibly at another Purim carnival. Fred lived on top of my fridge during 8th grade, to be safe from my demon cats. It didn’t work. I remember Fred mostly from the horrifying events surrounding his death. One day, my mom discovered the Willow Beast playing with something in the kitchen. She screamed, realizing that it was a fish. That was supposed to be in a bowl. On top of the fridge. On the other side of the kitchen. My mom scooped Fred up and put him back in the bowl, but, alas, it was too late.
The events surrounding Max’s death were similar to Fred’s. Max was my sister Kim’s fish, who I was taking care of while she was visiting our grandma in Florida with our mom. I did a bad job. Poor Max was murdered by Willow the Fish Serial Killer and her partner-in-crime, Oliver.
One morning I woke up to Oliver banging something against my door. I didn’t bother putting my glasses on, so I had to pick it up to see what it was. To my horror, it was the little fishy travel cup Max was living in, sans water. I could only assume that, since Oliver is fat and partly blind and couldn’t jump onto high shelves, that Willow must have knocked Max off the shelf, spilling the water, suffocating Max to death. Then Oliver decided to desecrate the body. I ran in to wake up my dad, and he wasn’t nearly as heartbroken as I was. Sorry, Kimmi.
Lord of War
Oh, my little Lord of War. Was there ever a greater fish to swim on this earth? The answer is a resounding no. One day I’ll have to write a whole piece dedicated to this incredible little beast, but today is not that day. I got Lord of War my freshman year of college. He was named after a movie that Amanda had in her DVD collection (runners-up for names were Big Fish and Jackass. Amanda has eclectic tastes). He died at the beginning of my senior year. He lived in every dorm I lived in.
He survived when I abandoned him for a semester in London. And Willow never managed to murder him. He was a trooper. He had swim bladder disease and one time he had a horrible rash on his stomach (shout out to Kaely for being a good caretaker while I was in class). This fish was special. The day he died, I called fellow fish holder Allyssa to come to my room to perform a funeral. It was so devastating, and I still haven’t recovered. The official autopsy says it was old age, but I still think it was foul play.
Percy, Finley, Mickey, and George
These were the fish I got in the wake of Lord of War’s death. I got Percy and Finley first. I think Percy scared Finley to death. He died a week after I got him. I got Mickey a while later, when I accompanied Allyssa to the pet store to purchase her fish Lance and Bruce. I won George at an event the last week of college. He was tiny and lived in my butterbeer mug from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I think he died a few weeks after I got home (transporting three fish home on the day of my graduation while saying goodbye to my friends and moving out of my dorm was super fun). Mickey died soon after. Percy died about a month later, which led to the purchase of…
Amanda Junior aka AJ Boy
My friend Diana and I took her little brothers to the pet store to get goldfish for their birthdays. After losing 5 fish in one year, I figured I would get another one. Jake helped pick one out. And I named him Amanda Junior because I had once promised Amanda I would name a fish after her. Since he was obviously a boy (every fish I have ever owned has been), but he was named Amanda, I decided to add “Boy” to the end of his name. Hence, AJ Boy. He died of natural causes about a month after I got him.
Hamilton “HamRock” Rocket
I believe Allyssa and Rachel were with me when I got this one. I named him Hamilton after a street we drove past and Rocket after Elton John (“Rocket Man” was on the radio). He was a super pretty fish. I was sad when he died.
Waffle and Pig
Almost a year after HamRock died, Allyssa got me a gift card for my birthday and my boyfriend convinced me to get another fish. Two days before I started my current job, we went to the store where my friend Melissa works. My boyfriend convinced me to get both a fish (Waffle) and a frog (Pig). I’d never owned a frog before, but I loved him immediately. I wasn’t even mad when he murdered Waffle and ate his tail. Pig and I lived happily together for one month. Then Hurricane Sandy happened and we lost power for 10 days. No matter how many times I changed his water, it was still freezing constantly. He didn’t make it. Pig the Frog, just another victim of Super Bitch Storm Sandy.
So those are (some) of the fish I have owned and loved. Rest in peace, my fishy (and froggy) friends. I know you’re looking down on me from the Giant Fish Bowl in the Sky.