This past Purim my son managed to win a couple of goldfish at the shul carnival.
The booths in which they are offered as prizes are one of the bigger draws at the carnival, especially among the younger crowd because it is enticing and cool to win a fish.
Those of you who have experience with these particular fish know that they are not the hardiest of creatures and often expire rapidly. In the old days they used to actually pass out the fish at the carnival. This presented a number of problems.
As a child it was the “dad can you please carry my fish so that I can play other games” and as a parent it was the “I am carrying too much crap to begin with, how can I possibly be loaded down any further I am not a pack mule.
In recent years someone came up with a brainstorm and they began presenting vouchers that could be redeemed for a fish. It is a brilliant idea, you can wait until after the carnival and then go to the pet store to pick up your fish. And from the store perspective it is a great time to do some upselling.
In our particular case my son redeemed his two vouchers somewhere around two weeks ago. And in to our house came two new fish who received the same names as the fish that preceded them in the very same bowl.
That evening after the house grew dark and I could hear snoring from the various rooms I explained to the fish that they had moved into a place that had nothing but potential and that even though the prior owners were deceased their environment and upkeep had nothing to do with their deaths.
They didn’t even bother to thank me, just kept swimming in circles, their mouths forming little ‘Os’ as they circled the bowl. I warned them that ignoring me would lead to circling a different bowl at a much faster clip, but they didn’t listen.
In less than a week the first fish went to wherever it is that fish go when they die. The last time this happened (last Summer) my son was quite upset and really interrogated me about life and what happens to things, people, animals, fish when they die.
For whatever reason he wasn’t phased this time and went about his business.
This evening we noticed that the second fish seems to be fading a little. So we mentioned this to the younger, smarter and better looking version of myself. Suggested that it was possible that this fish might die soon too and tried to prepare him a little just in case.
My son had none of it because he had a plan to save the fish. He took a chair and pushed it into the kitchen and next to the bowl where he then stood up and blew into the bowl. Afterwards he explained to me that he was helping the fish breathe by sharing his air with the fish.
I’d like to say that this is because he is a very sweet and giving boy and perhaps in part it is. But the thing that made me smile was that I could see the wheels turning in his head, he was trying to come up with a solution to the problem. And I couldn’t help but beam with pride because in theory the idea is solid.
We see humans and all sorts of other creatures survive accidents/disease by devices/people that help them to breathe. I don’t know if he has ever seen this on television, but even if he has I am very proud of him.