I'm really not a mean person, but I'm excessively entertained by certain mean things. Like Al Roker falling over last week during the hurricane on the Today show--and I love Al Roker. If he got hurt, it would not have been so funny, it really would not have. But there is something hopelessly amusing, every time there is a hurricane and they send some poor, hopeless sap out in the high winds. Ridiculous! Pan to a flag, or a tree or something to show how hard it's blowing outside. A smashed traffic light--something. But no, instead, they send out a live reporter and a camera crew. In my town, it's always the scrub at the bottom of the totem pole. On the Today show, I guess Al Roker still gets stuck with the job. Hi-larious! I can't help myself. Lying in bed that morning (flanked by the doggies) before work, I laughed and laughed when he could hardly hear Matt and Katie in NY, and then when his notes blew out of his hands, and then when they panned back to show the guy whose job it was to hug Al Roker's legs. In fact, I think it's fair to say that made my whole day.
Also last week, I taunted the office fish. I admit it, it was cruel and uncalled for. I said, Look at him. He's going to bite it. Every day, I said it, and I would sometimes get lost staring at his bowl, waiting for him to kick off. I would google "death symptoms for Bettas" and tell everyone the signs: he's hanging out at the top of the bowl all the time! He's on his way out, I'm telling you.
His name was Search, and he was a three-year-old red Betta. And he was cute--he lived in a peace lily bowl. We lost one other fish here once when it got too cold over the weekend, and we've had some issues recently with temperature, where our own toes are about to fall off, and the water in the two fishbowls gets really cold, and the fish get really still, and it's scary. Benecio the blue Betta in the fishbowl nextdoor to Search's bowl, just this morning, required some warmer water to be added to his bowl, and I was genuinely worried. But that was after I found Search dead.
He lived a long, good life. In fish years, he was like, 5,023. Yet it was sad to see him hovering, pale and lifeless, on the bottom of the bowl over the glass rocks.
And I flushed him before too many could see. I did. I had to. First of all, the bowl sits right by my desk--I don't want to look at that. It was sick, man. Second of all, I didn't want to needlessly upset anyone. There was no place to bury him, I didn't want him just sitting in the trash wrapped in a paper towel all day--it was the proper thing to do. Third, well, I feel a little responsible. Could I have caused Search's death by egging him on?
To compensate, I removed the jaunty ribbon from Search's bowl and made him an epitath on a mini post-it note:
You were a good fishy.
You were a good fishy.