The great blue heron said, upon calling his vassals, "I can no longer care for myself or the fish tank you left when last you left. I found the plecostomus on the floor, the platys breed like flies, I have been diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma, please, for the oath you swore me, take it back."
"My liege, let us not feud. Wait, you have cancer?"
I could have just given up on this diary, maybe forget this year ever happened, even the parts I want to remember. Instead, one day I am driving to the hospital, my mother wailing, then chopping firewood, preparing a house for hospice care, listening to a dying parent tell me how he regrets something he did to me 25 years ago I can barely remember.
Then I am in a pet store, asking the clerk if they will take a ten year old algae eater grown a foot long, my wife pissed for repossessing an old aquarium because of the mess, 'You only care about him because he's dying,' and another pointless fight after a year of them. We should be so much more sophisticated at arguing, all the experience, but fighting seems to be the one thing that gets sloppier and less professional the more it's practiced, at least for us.
Did you know a dozen fish found only in aquariums now invade California's marine waters? Fish that survive the aquarium trade are so hardy, they can survive the toilet, flushed by those too squeamish to kill the little creatures. In our mercy, we release them into strange waters, where they drown out native populations, local, unintended genocides. I could bury all the mollys in a hole and do the world a favor, for christ's sake, we just had salmon.
Thousands of message board responses offer advice for fish euthanasia (easy death), clove oil chief among the methods. Freezing and flushing are considered inhumane. Feeding to another fish falls somewhere in between.
Our kids are too old to be taught the lesson of mortality via the deceased, family goldfish (which can live 30 years, by the way). I guess they will have to learn the old fashioned way.