Mice and Men and the Rest of Us

Today in Quarantine Life and the Search for Meaning, Purpose and Income, I’m reflecting on my tragic history with fish as pets and it’s impeding me from buying another one.

Now that Wisconsin is again “open,” despite the state setting consecutive daily records on the number of new coronavirus cases, I’m again considering buying a fish.

But I don’t think I can handle another loss.

As a kid, I had a large tank and carefully tended to my fish Lemondrop, Tigerlilly, Sharky the Super Sucker and the rest.

Then my family went on vacation and we came back to find the tank filter had apparently become clogged while we were away and the tank was cloudy. My heart pounding, I put my face close to the tank.


And a piece of fish skin drifted by in response.

I screamed and ran to my room and cried into my pillow for hours, traumatized.

Notably, I didn’t have to clean up the disintegrated fish remains because I was really short at the time.

The next time I had fish was when I was much taller and worked for a non-profit in Milwaukee which used Siamese Fighting fish as a table setting for a fundraising gala event.

And, afterwards, we the staff were allowed to keep one of the fish at our desks if we wanted to.

It was a bit shocking but not everyone chose to have a fish and I have no idea what happened to all the fish who were not chosen.

But I have some dark ideas.

In any case, my fish’s name was Wesley.

I dutifully tended to Wesley, but he kept jumping out of his bowl.

He seemed to be the least happy of all of us occupying that office space and he had some serious competition among the human staff for that title.

Sadly, one morning I came in to work and found him stuck to the surface of my desk.

My poor suicidal Wesley.

Now being an old person by this point, I didn’t cry.

I just peeled his body off my desk surface and cleaned up the dead fish mess in the office kitchen area while others were pouring their morning coffee.

Then my husband and I moved to Scotland and I was desperate for some kind of pet so I took the bus to a pet store and bought a goldfish and everything that a fish would need.

I named the goldfish Sebastian.

So Sebastian the goldfish and all his stuff and I got back on the bus and went home.

Sebastian didn’t last long. I was out one night with my equally epileptic Canadian best friend Chloe Ginette

when my husband called me to tell me that Sebastian had died.

He didn’t know why. There was no autopsy. He just found Sebastian floating at the top of his bowl.

I burst into tears at the bar upon hearing the news.

I was under a lot of stress at the time.

But I didn’t clean up my dead fish mess. For, when I came home, there was no trace that Sebastian had ever existed.

David had flushed Sebastian down the toilet for me and hid all his stuff.

Poor sickly Sebastian.

Eleven years later, I don’t know if I can handle another fish death.

And I’d want to give a fish a really big tank so it would at least have a chance of surviving. Yet, we don’t have room for a big goldfish tank in this apartment.

Meanwhile, I have what looks to be pink crust on the side of my thumb.

David tells me that’s probably my alien skin coming through my human suit.

Sure, but I had no idea I was pink underneath.

David says he appreciates the warning because he won’t have any chance once I turn full-blown alien.

Also, as a whole new variable to throw into the “should I buy a fish” conundrum, once my true form reveals itself, I also can’t say how responsible I will be as a fish owner.

But you never can tell.


I just launched a sale on my BrainWars Etsy shop:

25% off the purchase of two items!


I have a free WordPress account so I can’t insert an Etsy link. Help me afford to pay for a WordPress account so I can insert an Etsy link and bother you about buying stuff from me in a more streamlined way.

I’m selling my ghostly storybook:

And a bunch of crazy prints:

I also take commissions. Do you want a Microsoft Paint illustration of your neighbor’s dog for some bizarre reason?

I can do that.

Thank you! Hope you’re staying safe and healthy during these




exhausting times.

6 thoughts on “Mice and Men and the Rest of Us

  1. I hear you, but me? I readily admit that I would be a totally irresponsible fish owner (or are they called fish parents, now?). Still. Any time I happen to be in a pet store, I drift over to the fish, stare dreamily into the tanks, and mentally design a fishy menagerie. Can’t help it. They’re so pretty.

    If somebody else would take care of them so I could just look at them without guilt, I would have one big gorgeous frilly orange goldfish in amongst a dozen of those matt black ones with the big big eyes. And then, I think, just clouds of tiny little neon tetras.

    Wouldn’t that be pretty? I don’t dare. That would be murder. Or Fishslaughter. I am not to be trusted with pets that can’t annoy me until I feed them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha aw. My favorite are the big orange or yellow goldfish. 🙂 The feeding isn’t as much of a pain as the cleaning… making sure the the water stays oxygenated.

      I also drift over to the fish. They’re lovely. 🙂

      But haha yes… no fish slaughter! Well, maybe a fish could be trained to ring a bell or something for you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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