I’ve had this post in my mind for a very long time, nearly every time that I look at Redhead, age 4, and her next-door fishmate, Firefly, soon to be 3. Actually, I’m not certain of their chronological age at all, just that they have been in our disbelieving care for what seems like forever. Here’s my secret formula for goldfish longevity.
1. Suffer the immediate demise of two to three other goldfish and tell yourself you will never be so foolish as to bring another one home.
2. Leave the house for the morning.
3. During which time your husband drives by the pet store and escorts your daughter inside, then leaves with a 25-cent fish and $40 in tank, decoration, and filtration supplies.
4. Install said fish in this high-dollar, intensive care, assisted living habitat.
5. Remind your child every morning and evening to feed the fish.
6. This requires repeating the following phrase eight full times, twice a day, every day, for 1,460 days: Did you feed the fish?
7. Repeat after me, Did you feed the fish?
8. Repeat it 23,360 times over four years.
9. Then feed the fish yourself.
10. Leave the house for the morning.
11. During which time your husband takes your daughter to the old-fashioned carnival in the park, then leaves with a free, 25-cent goldfish in a cellophane bag.
12. Inwardly scream, then regain your calm with the thought, “I bet these fish could share the same tank.”
13. Remove remains and give teary daughter a tutorial on “survival of the fittest.”
14. Leave the house for the morning.
15. During which time your husband drives by the pet store and escorts your daughter inside, then leaves with a 25-cent fish and another $40 in tank, decoration and filtration supplies.
16. Repeat steps 4-9.
17. Use only distilled water to refill tanks.
18. Fully and/or partially refill tanks every Saturday.
19. This requires two gallons of distilled water at $1.29 each once a week for 208 weeks.
20. Marvel at the lifespan of your fish, but do not do the math.