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Friday Funnies: It’s official, I’m a fish murderer

(laughing–when I shouldn’t)

Note to self: When writing a post entitled “Choose to Have a Good Day” be prepared to have two weeks of…well…how do I put this…not-so-easy-to-have-a-good-day days. 

It’s been uncanny. 

You know the saying, “When it rains it pours.” These past two weeks it’s been pouring like a typhoon. In a hurricane.

When the phone rang for the third time in a week at 10:00pm (we go to bed at 9:30), I looked at my husband and said, “What next?” It wasn’t even all directly affecting me, him, or my kids. In fact, most of it was stuff happening in our immediate families, our friends, or people around us which only made me feel more helpless. I couldn’t fix the problems, I could only listen. Without burdening you with the details, I’ll just sum it up by saying that the last two weeks have been heavy.

Anyway, last Friday I struggled to come up with something for “Friday Funnies.” If you check back, you’ll find that I never did. That was in part because I was extremely busy that day, but mostly I was just drowned out by the rain. 

This morning as I was driving my kids to school, I realized it was Friday Funnies today.

I started to wonder what ever possessed me to want to do this little blog post each week. “Do I really have to search my entire lousy week for something funny?” I wondered. When the better half of my brain answered “Yes!” I started thinking back, which sadly lead to me making a list of everything that had gone wrong.

When I got to last night and the last thing to add to the list, I started laughing. Yes. Laughing. I was sitting in the carpool line laughing at…no one. 

Why was I so amused by the last thing that went wrong this week? Because last night is when I finally snapped. Have you ever had that happen when everything in life is going wrong and suddenly, one more stupid, tiny, insignificant thing happens and suddenly you’re hysterical with laughter? That was me.

Here’s the story.

My middle child — a true, neglected middle child — has been wanting fish for some time now. At a garage sale last November he found a little fish bowl for $2. He happened to have $2, so he bought it and we promptly became the proud owners of two twenty-five cent goldfish.

My son was so excited about his goldfish. He named one Gill (in honor of What about Bob?) and the other Oscar. 

I will say that having two goldfish has been great for him. He’s been very responsible feeding and caring for them. So much so that for Christmas he got a full 15 gallon tank from Santa. Within a week he was the father and caretaker of eight beautiful fish of different shapes and sizes. It was great. Life was good.


Lesson #1: Goldfish and Tropical Fish don’t mix 

By January 6ish, we were back down to five fish. My fault. You live and learn (well, those three fish didn’t, but I did). We spent a few nights talking about whether fish go to heaven, and Gill and Oscar went back into their small bowl. Life resumed it’s happy pace.

Yesterday, my son started freaking out upstairs. “My fish is dead! Oscar is dead! Oh no, Oscar! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to kill you!” (He has the tendency towards the dramatic.) “I didn’t mean to! Oh, Oscar! I’m so sorry!”

I ran up the stairs and sure enough, beautiful orange Oscar was floating at the top of the water. Poor Gill wasn’t looking so hot either. He was lying on his side on the multi-colored pebbles, breathing laboriously. And if you don’t think a fish can breathe laboriously, just ask my son. 


Lesson #2: Even small fish bowls need to be cleaned — in fact, quite often 

My fault again.

Since this little bowl doesn’t have a filter like the 15-gallon tank, it always seems to be dirty and gross, and as I mentioned, things have been a little busy around the house with all the rain going on.

It didn’t take much to figure out that Oscar was dead and Gill was nearly dead because of my neglect — I could barely see Gill through the murky water. Gross. If I had any hope of saving Gill, I had to clean the bowl. But first, I had to dispose of the dead fish. 

Lesson #3: Don’t buy fish nets that are bigger than the opening to the fishbowl.

I couldn’t get the square fish net into the round bowl.

The only way to flush Oscar was to dump some of the water into the toilet and hope he would float out easily. He did. Something finally went right. Oscar was flushed to his watery grave. 

Gill was still floating sideways in the bottom of the fishbowl, so I determined he needed some good fresh water. That meant pouring out more of the murky water into the toilet.


My son was crying behind me and I turned the briefest second to console him. Mid-pour. 

Lesson #4: Don’t turn when pouring fish water into a toilet

Next thing I knew, my son stopped crying. His face went completely blank. He was staring at the toilet.

I turned back just as the screaming started.

Poor Gill was now flailing sideways in a new bowl, the toilet bowl. 

That’s when I started laughing. 

My son was bawling his eyes out, but I’d had a heavy two weeks, and something inside me just snapped. I quickly pulled it together and went through all my options. Fish the fish out with a net that’s too big? That was too gross on too many levels. And quite frankly, Gill was basically dead anyway. The poor thing couldn’t even swim straight. So I made the rash decision. 

I flushed. 

A good mother would have chosen differently, she would have found a way to save nearly-dead Gill from the toilet, even if only for a few more hours of precious life, but quite frankly, I’m not one of those moms. My son will probably go to counseling some day for what happened, but such is life. There was no way I was fishing that fish out of the toilet. 

So I’m officially a murderer. I had a chance to save a life and I didn’t. And did I cry over the lost life? No. I laughed. I’m a horrible person, or at least my son thinks so.

Does anyone else do this? Laugh at the most inopportune times? 


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