During my decade-long career as a journalist/marketing copywriter/social media manager, I have found myself on the creative end of some pretty interesting projects. Editorial content often requires interviews and photo shoots and behind-the-scenes tours, to really get to the guts of the story. As a result of these endeavors, I have accumulated an impressive array of trinkets and trophies: A bottle of water from a natural spring, green tea-flavored liqueur, leggings with faux leather patches on the insides of the legs, and, the gift that brings us to this post, a quartet of goldfish.
About a year ago, I was in the photo studio interviewing a coworker for a blog feature. Vases of goldfish looked on as I asked her to disclose what she carried in her handbag and what her spirit animal might be. Finally, in spite of my best efforts to avoid eye contact, someone suggested I take a fish home. “The girls will love it!” they urged. You see, these goldfish were orphans; leftover props from a fashion photo shoot, and if no one gave them a tank to call home, their future looked pretty bleak. Against all my better judgement, and just as my mother the animal rescuer taught me, I rolled up my cardigan sleeve and fished two little guys out of a flower vase. I later went back for two more.
Thrilled with their new friends, the chicks settled on the names Orange, [Fish] Swimmer, Flower and Crawly the Ant, respectively. They fed them a pinch of flavorful flakes when asked, and checked in on them from time to time. Everyone was thriving … until Monday night. It was the commentary every parent dreads from the day they transfer that $.25 pet from the bag to the tank. “Mom, that fishy isn’t swimming. I think he’s caught in that plant, Mama! He is! He’s caught and there’s blood on him!” Spike screamed with great concern. I looked over at Hank and he made the universal thumb-across-the-jugular gesture to confirm that we had, in fact, lost a fish. Now, before I go on to this next part, it must be said that my reaction was for my children, more than the free goldfish that had taken up residence in my dining room.