Sunday, October 14, 2007

Noah's First Pet: Which Reminds Me of a Farside Cartoon.

Our neighborhood was having a little Oktoberfest this weekend, and since we had to spend much of the day running errands and getting things done, Michael and I decided to skip 90 percent of it and just go for the fireworks.

They had a lot of kid’s activities where you buy tickets and go play little games for prizes like temporary tattoos and spinning tops. They had the old game where you could toss a ping pong ball into a glass jar to win a goldfish. I steered way clear of that one.

So, Noah decides he wants to throw beanbags through some holes and he wins a prize. As he is looking through a little bowl of prizes, trying to pick out which color of playdough he wants, he notices there is a little closed Tupperware with a goldfish in it sitting right next to the prize bowl.

There is a small boy beside it saying, “Look at this gold fish! Someone just left it here and we don’t know whose it is!” As Noah says, “Whoa…” I look up at the boy’s mother who is running the booth and say “probably some Mom’s idea to leave it, as we all know what happens to carnival fish”. Wink wink nod nod.

Then the little boy picks up the little Tupperware and hands it to Noah and says, “you can have him! He can be your prize!”

And the world slows down as I understand what is being said a moment too late and hear that “Noooooooooo!!!!” coming from my innermost being.

Noah’s face lights up like he found a pony under the Christmas tree and he clutches the little bowl like he's been granted the last Thin Mint in the box this cookie season, and reverently says, “thaaaaank you” looking at the boy like he is an angel from on high sent to give him his heart’s desire.

I look desperately at the mother begging her with facial ticks and furrowed eyebrows to help me out of this one. “Ummm… your son just offered the fish to my son… umm… maybe… ummm…. "

“Oh, he can have it! Go ahead, honey!”


I could hear the voice in her head just laughing at the fact that she no longer has to feel compelled to take this poor doomed soul home for the 7 or 8 days he will stay alive, and then do the funeral flush, all children present and gathered around the sacred toilet.

And like she planned it, all the lights that lit up the basketball court that the booths were set up on were extinguished and we found ourselves in blackest night… clutching the damned Tupperware bowl. It was time for the fireworks show, and we didn't have a seat yet.

So, off we went, goldfish in hand, and found an empty patch of grass. I decided to be frank with the poor kid.

“Honey, fish are really hard to take care of. We don’t have any food, and we don’t have a fish tank, and all that stuff costs a lot of money. Maybe it would be better if we found someone else this fish could go home with that could care for him better.”

And the tears welled up. I paused and started again.

“Okay, Honey, you have to know something about carnival fish. People win these fish at carnivals and they take them home and feed them and love them, and VERY often they die in a week or two. They really die. If that happens, will you be able to handle that? Will you be super sad?”

He is sad now. He says, “no…I won't” with a big frown on his face. He is about to cry. “I’ll be okay.”

“You really want this fish?”

Just some adamant nodding. Small smile forming...



“Sure, baby.”

We have ourselves a fish.

A fish named Zeus.


Willowtree said...

You never can tell with goldfish, I've had them last 5 or 6 years, but then I've had them last 5 or 6 days.

Mom said...

It had to happen sooner or later, Mommy. Do you remember parakeets, hamsters, gerbils, dogs????? At least it is just a tiny goldfish. Oh and by the way---Kelly bought one of those little turtles at a booth several years ago. Well, we all figured it was a goner. It is still going and is MUCH larger now!!

But hey, look at it this way. At least you have a new Tupperware bowl!! :-)

Beckie said...

Oh my - yeah, WT, is right. The fish might last years - I hope not, but it might.

Carmen said...

The only pet Gregory ever asked for was a spider. My sister talked him out of that when she threatened not to visit.

Then again, we've got a dog, a couple lizards, a fish... So we are pretty well stocked.