I was talking to a girl on G-Chat (Shout out to Meg. Miss you). She brought up my goldfish, and then walked away from the computer. When she came back, I had accidentally written an essay about the various things my goldfish does. Obviously taken aback by the passion that exuded from my words regarding my small, orange friend, she suggested I write a post about him. Anything to do with music? Nope. Inappropriate? Yes. Doing it anyways? Yes.
Continue reading, if you want…
I love all living things with the exception of poison ivy and human beings, but I never considered getting a pet fish. I’ve always considered myself a “dog person” just waiting until the timing is right, so I can get a cool shelter dog with three legs or two different colored eyes. Then earlier this year a couple of my friends went to a fair and won a fish, but neither of them wanted it. I didn’t really want a fish either, but I live by a very rigid set of rules; one of them being “If a person offers you a live animal, accept it”. Yes, of course I will have the fish.
Pigeon spent his first week with me in a flower vase, a definite upgrade from the tupperware container on some makeshift shelf at a local fair. Still, his new home was not fit for a fish of his caliber. Later on, I would learn that Pigeon is a very smart fish, but, perhaps due to nerves, his first week in my apartment was plagued with tomfoolery and utter idiocy. “Oh great”, I thought, “My new aquatic companion is ignorant”.
The temporary home/flower vase that housed Pigeon during week one was shaped like a tall rectangle. For some reason, this diminutive motherfucker couldn’t wrap his head around the concept of corners. I can understand a struggle – the little guy probably lived his entire life surrounded by circles, but it got ridiculous. He would spend hours stuck in the corner of his tank – “Ooph, here’s this corner again, ok let’s try left, no…right, ok left again, maybe try a real quick right, eh maybe I’ll just wait it out for a few minutes, ok now fast left!” It was pathetic. I started to worry that he might actually kill himself via battles with corners.
It was obvious that this notion of 90 degree angles was too much for Pigeon’s tiny fish brain, so I got him a fish bowl, complete with little pebbles on the bottom and an extravagant overhead light, which has been out of commission ever since my TV remote ran out of batteries. Suddenly a new side of Pigeon emerged. Suddenly, he “got it”. He radiated the confidence of a newly crowned prince, constantly circling his domain is if to say “I’ve arrived” – or maybe just celebrating the absence of corners. It wasn’t until this new tank that I started to appreciate his intelligence.
I feed Pigeon from an orange container full of “goldfish flakes” that ironically, smell like fish. Nobody knows what’s in those flakes, but some things are better left unknown right? Right. This little fucker loves these flakes more than anything in the world. I’ve heard that goldfish have memories that last only 5 seconds. I always bought it, often cleverly comparing stoners and old people to goldfish, and accepting the fact that no matter what sick things I do to this small animal (I’d never do anything bad to him), it will be forgiven within a matter of seconds. I now know this goldfish memory myth to be a falsehood, probably spread by some bitter “scientist” who, after a career of unappreciated experiments with bacteria and phages, wanted to implant some small tidbit of information into the mainstream that would forever be accepted as truth. Whenever I reach for the orange container of fish flakes, Pigeon knows exactly what’s coming. He puts his awkwardly large fishmouth to the sky waiting for those delicious flakes to come raining down. There is no doubt that the orange container of flakes is embedded somewhere in Pigeon’s long term memory.
I try to please him with other things – sometimes I drop small, fancy objects (coins, gems, watches) into his bowl, hoping for some sign of gratitude, but nothing. This fish cares about nothing but flakes. A container of flakes, as you can imagine, is hard to ration with any precision. Sometimes I shake with excessive strength and way too many flakes dump out and form a canopy on the surface of Pigeon’s water. He does his best to eat it all right away, but one small fish is no match for the flake canopy, and pieces of food sink to the bottom. Once at the bottom, they get lost among the pebbles. “Gone forever”, most fish would think. Not Pigeon.
Pigeon’s best trick is both an arrogant display of athleticism and an exhibition of pure conviction. If nothing else, Pigeon is a greedy bastard of a fish, never satisfied with his ration of flakes. Even when I clumsily overfeed him, he remains unfulfilled. After he eats away the dissipating canopy, he sets his sights on “the lost flakes”, broken up and masked among the pebbles. I know when Pigeon’s trick is about to come, because he systematically turns his puny, scaly body completely vertical, with fishhead to the heavens. He holds this pose for minutes. I’m still not sure exactly what he’s thinking, but I imagine he’s playing “Enter Sandman” or “Bulls On Parade” in his head, psyching himself up for his power move. Boom. He then starts whipping his tail violently toward the pebbles, forcing tiny pieces of flakes to fill his tank like a snow globe. As it rains flakes, Pigeon rushes around the tank with his gaping fishmouth, relentlessly devouring tiny pieces of flakes, usually while strands of shit dangle from his fish asshole. It’s very, very, impressive. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Pigeon do his trick – it changed my whole perception of him in seconds. I was humbled. I was proud.
Pigeon sucks at a lot of things – he’ll never be able to navigate the simplest of geometric obstacles, he gives horrible advice, and his social skills are nonexistent. He will never be a CEO, and he will never be a politician. But despite his obvious shortcomings, he has won my respect and my admiration. If you can take something from all of this rambling, take this: Find something you love, find something you’re good at, and no matter how insignificant it may seem, do it really, really fucking well. Being a “well rounded” person is a great side goal, but it’s really all about your one trick. Do it with confidence, integrity, pride, and unwavering determination. You will win over the hearts of people around you, and you will be an inspiration to those who can relate. If nothing else, you will make this world a far more interesting place.