Fishing for smiles

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It started out simply enough. Sutton had gone somewhere and seen a fish in a bowl. She loved looking at it and every time we went to this place, she headed straight towards the fish. The idea was hatched to get her a fish for her room.

I told Greg of this plan and he immediately expressed hesitation.

“I don’t want to clean the bowl and I know you won’t,” he said.

He was right. The thought of cleaning a fish bowl makes me sick. I solved this problem quickly, however, contracting with the DeVaney brothers, my nephews, to clean the bowl for the low, low cost of $5 every two weeks.

Problem solved.

With this issue behind us, we went to the pet store with a simple goal – buy a bowl, some food and a goldfish. I picked up a bowl – it cost $4 – grabbed some $1 food and then went over to the large fish tanks. Choosing to ignore the fish “sleeping” on the bottom of the tank, I started looking for the right one. The fish costs 78 cents, so I thought I might splurge and get two.

A salesperson came over to offer assistance and I explained I was there to buy a fish for my 1-year-old.

“Oh, you don’t want a goldfish,” she said. “They are too messy. And that bowl isn’t big enough anyway.”

She directed me to some other fish and we finally opted for a Betta fish. (They will fight if you put more than one in a bowl, so we had to stick to a solo fish.) She then pointed out a fish ecosystem aquarium, which she proclaimed he would just “love.” It was quite a bit more elaborate than my $4 bowl but I wanted the fish to be happy. Of course, I then had to buy some live plants to put into the aquarium because they provide greater oxygen levels. Then, I needed to get Betta color-enhancing food, some seven-day feeders and an aquarium light that changes colors.

I walked out of the store with my fish, his ecosystem and other supplies, totaling about $40 more than my 78-cent fish and his $4 home.

I came home, read through the mounds of directions that accompanied the aquarium and, after one more trip to the pet store to purchase even more supplies, finally put the fish into his new home.

“What should we name him?” I asked Greg. “How about Alpha, since he’s a Betta and he’s the first fish we’ve had?”

“How about Omega?” he replied. “Since he’s the last one we’re going to have.”

We named him Alpha and Sutton loves him. She looks at the tank, points and smiles. And that, of course, is priceless.

– Leada Gore is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer. Her column appears on Wednesdays.