I became a pet owner at the age of 21. And by this I mean a REAL pet owner – like I have to take care of this thing and feed it and make sure it doesn’t die and is happy kind of pet owner. Not like a my parents will do all the hard stuff for me pet owner.
My little brother gave him to me for Christmas, and he was beautiful and perfect and just the right kind of low maintenance for an irresponsible college student.
Well duh he was a fish.
A beautiful fish.
I named him Admiral Ackbar after this guy:
We called him the Admiral for short.
I know. The resemblance is uncanny.
Fish were the only thing the dorms let us have without threat of sizable fines so I was determined that the Admiral and I were going to be best friends.
Best, best friends. Except that he was a fish. And even though he was awesome and perfect and great, he was boring.
But this isn’t a story about his life. It was as a good a life as any fish could wish for, I think. He swam around a lot and sometimes made clicking noises in the middle of the night to freak me out. Sometimes he would follow a bobby pin around the side of his glass bowl if he felt like it. (I told people he was “trained”.)
But then one weekend he started chilling on the bottom of his bowl. Just hanging out. I’m not really a super fish expert so I figured he was just tired or something. Fish get tired, right?
Like I said, I’m not a magic fish whisperer. I decided maybe he was mad at me because it had been a while since I’d cleaned out his bowl and it was, um, a little grimy.
So, I did what any respectable pet owner does, and I saw to the needs of my pet. I stuck him in a little Tupperware container and cleaned the crap out of that fishbowl in my dorm bathroom that I “shared” with 70 other girls. (Just by the way, “sharing” with that many other women is a horrible, horrible plan. But that’s another story.)
I was super proud of myself and my new clean fishbowl and how awesome of a fish owner I was, and I dumped the Admiral back in after a few hours of waiting for the water to settle down so he could swim happily.
And then, he did the unthinkable. He died, right at the bottom of the fishbowl. All my hard work, all my good will, and a dead fish.
My roommate was out of town visiting her boyfriend, and so was not able to be there in person to console me in my grief and help plan the funeral. My next door neighbor volunteered to be head mourner instead, and we solemnly marched Admiral Ackbar down the hall to the bathroom to send him to the Great Fish Tank in the Sky.
My roommate Skyped in – she said she couldn’t bear for him to be laid to rest without her. Or, something like that.
Anyway, we sent the Admiral down the Rauros at approximately 11pm on a Saturday night in my dorm bathroom.
I gently tipped his bowl and poured him into a toilet.
The Head Mourner sobbed.
I forgot that it was one of those automatic flush toilets.
I only got halfway through Taps.