The other night we ate at a restaurant that has a tropical fish tank.
I had a good view of the fish over the shoulders of my dining companions, and I noticed that one of the fish had a small, rectangular protrusion from it’s “belly” region. For a moment I wasn’t sure. “Is that a belly button. a phallus, or poop?”
They turned to look and both affirmed, “It’s poop.”
Huh. I would have guessed that it would emerge from a different place. Shows what I know about fish anatomy. Nothing:
In my own defense, our pet when I was a kid was a dog.
At our table, we all watched, transfixed, waiting for the small brown cylinder to separate from the body of the fish. After a few moments it did, launching then wafting gently down, down… and getting caught in a plastic green frond.
The poop-caught-in-a-frond situation was both unexpected and disconcerting. We waited for it to resolve itself. The frond swayed softly; at any moment it seemed it would dislodge its burden and the poop would continue its journey into the pebbles at the bottom of the tank, but this didn’t happen. Instead, the poop remained, clinging to its position:
Would it ever fall?
Presumably yes, it did, but we didn’t see, because our food came, and we forgot to watch.
And we were also distracted–per usual– by Paul.
It delights me that after years of marriage, I still learn new information about my husband. This delight is mitigated by the fact that some aspect of the new information is often horrifying. This night I learned that as children Paul and his brother did have fish as pets. Huh, I never knew that–interesting!
And then there’s the turn…
From somewhere, the boys had inherited a fish tank. It was a tropical fish tank, complete with little heater at the bottom. Unfortunately, Paul and his brother — seemingly operating without parental oversight — didn’t realize that goldfish are not tropical fish, so their goldfish lived with a perpetual low-grade fever.
The boys also knew little about chlorine and other water quality issues, so their fishes’ eyes exploded or fell from their sockets. Usually just one eye, but in one case both eyes –memorable to Paul because he could see all the way through the fish’s head. Each day after school, the brothers would come home to see whether their fish still had eyes, and/or if they had survived the day. Often, they had not.
Fortunately for the boys’ morale (but unfortunately for every fish who crossed their path) there was a fish store nearby, and goldfish only cost a dollar. He estimates the number of fish who lived briefly in their horror-tank to be “over twenty, but under fifty.”