Friday Funnies: It’s official, I’m a fish murderer

(laughing–when I shouldn’t)

Note to self: When writing a post entitled “Choose to Have a Good Day” be prepared to have two weeks of…well…how do I put this…not-so-easy-to-have-a-good-day days. 

It’s been uncanny. 

You know the saying, “When it rains it pours.” These past two weeks it’s been pouring like a typhoon. In a hurricane.

When the phone rang for the third time in a week at 10:00pm (we go to bed at 9:30), I looked at my husband and said, “What next?” It wasn’t even all directly affecting me, him, or my kids. In fact, most of it was stuff happening in our immediate families, our friends, or people around us which only made me feel more helpless. I couldn’t fix the problems, I could only listen. Without burdening you with the details, I’ll just sum it up by saying that the last two weeks have been heavy.

Anyway, last Friday I struggled to come up with something for “Friday Funnies.” If you check back, you’ll find that I never did. That was in part because I was extremely busy that day, but mostly I was just drowned out by the rain. 

This morning as I was driving my kids to school, I realized it was Friday Funnies today.

I started to wonder what ever possessed me to want to do this little blog post each week. “Do I really have to search my entire lousy week for something funny?” I wondered. When the better half of my brain answered “Yes!” I started thinking back, which sadly lead to me making a list of everything that had gone wrong.

When I got to last night and the last thing to add to the list, I started laughing. Yes. Laughing. I was sitting in the carpool line laughing at…no one. 

Why was I so amused by the last thing that went wrong this week? Because last night is when I finally snapped. Have you ever had that happen when everything in life is going wrong and suddenly, one more stupid, tiny, insignificant thing happens and suddenly you’re hysterical with laughter? That was me.

Here’s the story.

My middle child — a true, neglected middle child — has been wanting fish for some time now. At a garage sale last November he found a little fish bowl for $2. He happened to have $2, so he bought it and we promptly became the proud owners of two twenty-five cent goldfish.

My son was so excited about his goldfish. He named one Gill (in honor of What about Bob?) and the other Oscar. 

I will say that having two goldfish has been great for him. He’s been very responsible feeding and caring for them. So much so that for Christmas he got a full 15 gallon tank from Santa. Within a week he was the father and caretaker of eight beautiful fish of different shapes and sizes. It was great. Life was good.

Lesson #1: Goldfish and Tropical Fish don’t mix 

By January 6ish, we were back down to five fish. My fault. You live and learn (well, those three fish didn’t, but I did). We spent a few nights talking about whether fish go to heaven, and Gill and Oscar went back into their small bowl. Life resumed it’s happy pace.

Yesterday, my son started freaking out upstairs. “My fish is dead! Oscar is dead! Oh no, Oscar! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to kill you!” (He has the tendency towards the dramatic.) “I didn’t mean to! Oh, Oscar! I’m so sorry!”

I ran up the stairs and sure enough, beautiful orange Oscar was floating at the top of the water. Poor Gill wasn’t looking so hot either. He was lying on his side on the multi-colored pebbles, breathing laboriously. And if you don’t think a fish can breathe laboriously, just ask my son. 

Lesson #2: Even small fish bowls need to be cleaned — in fact, quite often 

My fault again.

Since this little bowl doesn’t have a filter like the 15-gallon tank, it always seems to be dirty and gross, and as I mentioned, things have been a little busy around the house with all the rain going on.

It didn’t take much to figure out that Oscar was dead and Gill was nearly dead because of my neglect — I could barely see Gill through the murky water. Gross. If I had any hope of saving Gill, I had to clean the bowl. But first, I had to dispose of the dead fish. 

Lesson #3: Don’t buy fish nets that are bigger than the opening to the fishbowl.

I couldn’t get the square fish net into the round bowl.

The only way to flush Oscar was to dump some of the water into the toilet and hope he would float out easily. He did. Something finally went right. Oscar was flushed to his watery grave. 

Gill was still floating sideways in the bottom of the fishbowl, so I determined he needed some good fresh water. That meant pouring out more of the murky water into the toilet.

My son was crying behind me and I turned the briefest second to console him. Mid-pour. 

Lesson #4: Don’t turn when pouring fish water into a toilet

Next thing I knew, my son stopped crying. His face went completely blank. He was staring at the toilet.

I turned back just as the screaming started.

Poor Gill was now flailing sideways in a new bowl, the toilet bowl. 

That’s when I started laughing. 

My son was bawling his eyes out, but I’d had a heavy two weeks, and something inside me just snapped. I quickly pulled it together and went through all my options. Fish the fish out with a net that’s too big? That was too gross on too many levels. And quite frankly, Gill was basically dead anyway. The poor thing couldn’t even swim straight. So I made the rash decision. 

I flushed. 

A good mother would have chosen differently, she would have found a way to save nearly-dead Gill from the toilet, even if only for a few more hours of precious life, but quite frankly, I’m not one of those moms. My son will probably go to counseling some day for what happened, but such is life. There was no way I was fishing that fish out of the toilet. 

So I’m officially a murderer. I had a chance to save a life and I didn’t. And did I cry over the lost life? No. I laughed. I’m a horrible person, or at least my son thinks so.

Does anyone else do this? Laugh at the most inopportune times? 


17 thoughts on “Friday Funnies: It’s official, I’m a fish murderer

  1. I guess I must laugh at inopportune moments because I am howling over your story. What a comedy of fish errors! Oh my!!! I'm sorry, but this is my idea of a great Friday Funnies post. Hope things get better for you and never, ever say those kinds of things out loud again. In fact, I'm going on record – It's going to be a crappy as all get-out day today! There, things should get better now.


  2. Love the way you told this story! Poor fishies. But hey, you never know – Gill's a fish in water; he could be living in the drains right now!


  3. I am so glad you shared this story!! I HAVE been at the hysterical laughing point on more than one occasion. It happened once in a work meeting. I tried to stop myself, but I ended up rushing out of the room with my hands over my face and everyone wondering if I was laughing or crying!!!


  4. Rebecca, I'm in your group for the Platform-building Campaign and just wanted to stop by and introduce myself. I am totally prone to inappropriate laughter as well. (You would never want to go to a funeral with me.) And I've never had much luck with goldfish. Your story made me chuckle!


  5. Howdy fellow Campaigner. I'm right there with you. For me, it usually happens when someone is deathly ill or when I'm at a funeral. Can't help it. Something someone says or does will usually trigger it. *sigh. Ah well. At least the sick person usually gets a laugh out of it.^Sounds like Eliza and I should NOT go to funerals together! lolMelanie


  6. Yeah, I'm thinking you two shouldn't sit by each other. :) It's a horrible feeling, too, when you start to laugh and you know you're not supposed to, but you just can't stop. Thanks for stopping by. It's nice to 'meet' you.


  7. That's the worst, right? I'm one of those people who wears my emotions on my face (including blushing bright red, which always makes me feel like I'm seven years old or something). :)


  8. I think I know that about you. :) That's better than laughing when you hear bad news, which I have done more often than I care to admit. It's horrible. A nervous tick I guess.


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