No, really. It is.
I actually said these words aloud as I shamelessly catered to my fish, Spot.
“The next damned fish is going to be named Edward again. I loved that fish…”
It was only after I had gone through the process of changing Spot’s bowl into the smaller bowl (that was never used as a fishbowl, if you want the truth), that I realized that I told my oldest son, Addison, that I think the next fish would be named Ralph. (Or was it Ralf? Hell, I don’t remember.)
The point is, as I awoke this morning to my dripping with icky-stuff, coughing up small animals thast rhyme with smog, not to mention sniffling and snorting noises that would make even a teenaged boy cringe, I was sure that it was a dead fish’s lifeless death energy which was making me sick. My dead fish's energy. Spot.
(Cut me some slack, would you? No, I didn’t really believe that. When I don’t feel good I get flippant and a little cynical. Can we move on now?)
As it happens, Spot wasn't dead. Oh joy.
As long as I’ve had this particular fish, I’ve gotten to know a little about him. I’ve only had this one for a few months, but that is long enough to know that this one is a pain in my ass.
(As far as fish go, at least.)
You see, I have a large fish bowl that is in the shape of a fish. I don’t normally go for “cute” in my home décor, but this bowl is special.
I was working at a place at Christmastime in 2005 when I got to participate in a secret Santa gift exchange. When I unwrapped a large crystal fish fishbowl, I thought my personal Santa Claus had actually taken the time to figure out what I’d like. Turns out that it wasn’t exactly like that. A couple of comments were made (such as, “wow, THAT looks familiar!!”), leading me to the decision that this had likely been re-gifted to me.
That’s ok. A gift is a gift, after all, and I loved it. I like fish. (I also like sushi, but that’s another story… )
So this Big Fish fishbowl is what I have used for each of my fish since. Including Spot. That picky thing…
Spot was interested in the bowl when he was first plopped into it. He was cool with it for a while. But I guess old habits die hard, because before long, he wanted to hang out at the far “corner” of the fish fishbowl. (It was near the tail of the bowl, of course. By the fish fishbowl's ass. Makes sense now, doesn't it?)
I haven’t mentioned that this fish is lazy, too, have I? Well, in truth all bettas (and I don’t know about other fish), sleep a large portion of the day. But this guy? Oh goodness. He must be old or something. Set in his ways. Like most bettas, he wedges his little fishy head in between the stones, and likes it that way. Sleeps like that. But this one sleeps so much that he seems dead, and way too often for my liking.
Every time I feed him, I shake the bowl just a little, to see if he wiggles with life.
Today I was sure (again) that the fish had passed on. So I braced myself for the flush and made a decision about what to name the next one. Edward.
Now my old fish, Edward, I loved. I named that fish after Edward Lorenz, who was the scientist (meteorologist, actually) who came up with Chaos Theory. You know, non-linear dynamics? (I love this shit...)
Chaos theory states, essentially, that even in ''perfection'' there are imperfections which create instabilities. Likewise, in what appears to be great regularity, there is also imperfection. Most people have heard of the Butterfly Effect. That is where this comes into play. Basically, a very tiny instability in data can eventually throw something off its course by a wide margin. If I were to sum it up I'd say...
Nothing is as perfect as it may seem, but nothing is as random, either. It's labeling something as "perfect" or "random" which is the problem, not the inherent attributes of the "thing" in the first place.
Anyway, this is not about non-linear dynamics. It’s about fish.
(And if you want the truth, it’s not really about fish either.
So, much to my, uh, delight…? (Yes, delight…) Spot came alive on our way to his toilet grave. So we took a detour. To the kitchen. To switch him into a new bowl. This is when I decided that this has got to be the pickiest fish I have ever known.
This fish became so accustomed to his Walmart world, that he was unable to open himself up to the possibility which was before him. He was used to a small cup. But given room to swim, he feels more comfortable in the small corner, in the ass of a crystal fish.
My previous fish grew to appreciate the space. Contrary to what many people think, bettas can, and do like to, swim around. But not Spot.
Well, sometimes. Like now, for instance. I think his gills must be burning, since I’m typing about him…
So, am I doing Spot a favor, by putting him in a small bowl? This plain, round bowl isn’t a lot to write home about, after all…
Know what happened when I made the switch? That fish swam around the side of the bowl, and then promptly wedged that little fishy head of his again.
You don’t know this, but I have a fish that actually got his head wedged too tightly and could not surface. That led to his demise. So, as instinctual as it might be to do the wedging thingie, I’m a little uncomfortable with it, I must admit. (...But that’s another story.)
So putting the damned thing back into the environment that he was more used to (i.e. a smaller bowl) didn’t keep him up and running, so to speak.
Although he does seem happier.
You see, if the fish is going to do what he wants, he’ll do what he wants, regardless of where you put him. Try to change his environment to get him to do what you want, and he will not change… He will simply adapt to do what he wants within the new environment. Might Spot have changed? Sure. I’ve seen plenty of fish change. They decided that the fish fishbowl was the place to be! Yes, fish do change.
(And so do people.)
But this fish is the way he is. He likes his bowl, he likes his head wedged between rocks, and he likes to sleep all damned day long. Seems like he’s going to do that no matter which bowl he’s in. I guess you could say Spot has a healthy share of fishy-self-confidence.
The fish does what he likes, and doesn’t pay any mind to being himself, regardless to hat happens around him. He is true to who he is. (You know, who he is as a fish.) When you think about it, that’s pretty cool.
Maybe I like this fish after all.