Out of the Fish Business

We’re out of the fish business.

Our last betta, Harry Potter, died an unfortunate death today. He was on his last legs already – L was sure he was dead last weekend – but then I accidentally wacked the side of his bowl with a lid to some Corningware while I made my lunch. Water and gravel went everywhere. By the time I rounded up enough towels to start cleaning up the mess, there was no sign of poor Harry. Eventually I found his lifeless body under our toaster. Don’t know if he died from the shock of shooting out of his bowl or, tragically, waiting for me to save him but expiring before I could locate him.

He was L’s fish. M and C both had bettas that died a few months back. We had kind of decided when Harry went, we would be done with fish.

Which is a good thing.

Because fish are kind of bullshit.

They don’t do any tricks or interact with you. You can’t walk them around the neighborhood or play games with them. They don’t sound the alarm when a stranger enters your home. Hell, you can get away with feeding them only every 7–10 days and changing their water once a month and they’ll just sit there drifting around in the interim. Sometimes they live for years – I think one of our bettas almost made it three years – and sometimes they expired within a week of bringing them home. We had one fish that committed suicide; we found him on the countertop one morning. Other than C when her first fish, Spike, died after 18 months and she burst into tears and was sad for a day,[1] none of the girls really had a reaction to finding a dead fish in their bowl. I doubt L is going to be upset when I tell her later that Harry is gone.

Not that we’re moving up to more advanced pets. No-sir-ee! We don’t need any cats or dogs or domesticated rodents or anything like that. We have lots of birds in the trees, a bunny in the front yard, and raccoons under the deck. That’s plenty of wildlife fun for our family.

We got our first fish for M’s sixth birthday. So we made it seven years, one month, and five days as fish owners. The girls always liked the fish when we first got them, especially when they were younger. But after a couple days, the new fish always became afterthoughts and just took up space on our kitchen counter.

It wasn’t a bad run, but I’m not heartbroken that it’s over.


  1. She was five at the time.  ↩