19 June 2009

The Fish That Won't Die

My dad has this 30 gallon fish tank in his office that sat idle and waterless for about a year before he finally threw down the gauntlet and filled it with all sorts of swimmy friends. He decked it all out with petrified wood and lots of green plants before tossing in the fishies, ranging from bottom feeding plecostomus to shiny, zippy tetras. Then there is Claude, or at least that's what I've named him (I name everything and I mean everything), the cockroach of the watery world my father created.

He has his purpose, of course. He's a whiskered algae eater, so the tank stays cleaner than it would without him, but Claude has not really been fulfilling his position as of late since he has been spending his time belly up. But he's not dead. Oh, no. He just floats and then flits away when you touch him or approach him with the Net of Toilet Flushing Death. According to my dad, he has a faulty bladder, which made me cringe at first, my layperson knowledge thinking that he had the non-tetrapod chordate version of kidney failure, but apparently, the fish bladder has a function similar to the inner ear or the occipital lobe. It keeps the fish upright and gives it a sense of where it is. The more you know, right?

Still, he's been like this for over two weeks. Two fucking weeks. Each day, it's the same ritual. "Looks like he isn't moving. Touch him and see." "Nope, little bastard's still chuggin' along." My dad and I are basically sitting there waiting for him to croak, and we just don't have the heart to send him to an early septic system grave.

I'm fairly sure he isn't giving himself a pep talk every morning, but I do wonder if there is something to his perseverance, whether it's intentional or simply his nature not to roll over and die. He does have his next feeding to look forward to, for goodness' sake. For the longest time, I had a sort of defeatist attitude regarding my current situation: unemployed, basically penniless, not really any direction. That was my fish bladder. It made me basically kind of ride the fabricated ripples/waves of my own little fish tank (aka sleeping waaaay too much, not trying to find a job, etc.), until I basically said, "Okay, time to get off this little pity party I'm hosting."

I'm still in the floating stage and I DO give myself a pep talk every morning. I watch movies like "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," apply to any and every job I can, and exercise every day. I'm still jobless, but I have a roof over my head, wonderful parents that let me stay with them (rent free, yay!!), supportive friends and most of all, my faith. I'm still kind of broken, but pretty soon, my bladder will be functional again. Those words just sound strange. Meh, oh, well.

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