Goldfish are fun, but you don’t want to pet them.

While I was growing up, my folks didn’t allow typical pets at their house. I might be slightly emotionally scarred from the lack of animal exposure that my life needed back in the fourth grade.

The main reason my parents put the kibosh on pets was that my brother, Uncle Fun, had severe allergies. We weren’t left with many options when it came to finding an animal that he could be around without an injection of epinephrine. Around animals, his asthma would kick in to high gear and send him huffing into a ventilator for several hours, so as a general rule, pets were out. Uncle Fun couldn’t breathe around dust, grass, pollen, mushrooms, Pakistani leather, girls, lawnmowers, oriental carpets or anything that walked. I don’t know much, but I do know this;

All the good pets can walk.

After begging and pleading to share my room with any form of domesticated creature, my mom reluctantly agreed to let me have a goldfish. The excitement was tangible. I scraped up my dollars and coins and mom loaded me into our old, square, 1984 Honda Civic and off we went down to the local pet store.

A glass bowl was purchased along with some blue gravel, a green fish net and some food that looked like flakes of dried scabs. I chose a fat, silver goldfish, gave him (her?) a name and off we went toward home. My very first pet! How I loved that useless silver fish. For about three days I watched that goldfish swim around its glass bowl. I “oohed” and “ahhed” every time it did anything that indicated a modicum of intelligence. “See how smart Sparkles is?” I asked Uncle Fun, “Sparkles knows how to eat fish-food scabs! Isn’t that smart? And watch how he sucks up that blue rock and spits it out because he realizes it’s not  food. Isn’t that brilliant?” Uncle Fun stood in my room, nodded with a look of feigned amusement and puffed his inhaler.

For five months I cared for that anchovy until one morning I woke up to him doing the backstroke atop the bowl. My spirit was crushed and I padded off to school after going through a ceremonial flushing to send Sparkles off to the Great Fish Tank in the sky. My fishbowl was empty and so was my heart. The rain fell, the birds stopped chirping and oven baked fish-sticks lost their appeal.

I learned a very important lesson as a kid. Goldish are fun, but you don’t want to pet them. Being the caregiver of a mini aquarium just wasn’t in the cards for me, and after blowing through several replacement fish, I gave them up all together.

Petless I remained, until one year on a partly cloudy afternoon, I found a small brown lizard at the park with my friends. Refusing to part with it, I hid it in a shoebox and snuck it into the back of my parent’s car. There’s nothing more thrilling to a kid than a secret lizard pet. I hid him in his box deep in the bowels of my parent’s crowded basement. Everything went well until the very next morning when I discovered him missing. The little brown lizard was nowhere to be found. Despite my accusations, neither my mom or dad would fess up to finding it and releasing it into the wild.

Which means that a 23 year old lizard is still living rent-free inside my parent’s hoarded basement. I would bet money on a 400 pound Gila monster chillaxin’ inside their air-ducts, eating pizza and watching old VHS tapes loaded with M*A*S*H episodes. Without a doubt, that reptile is guarding piles of broken junk and picking his yellow lizard teeth with the bones of dead rodents.

By now, I would have made Uncle Fun go down to our folk’s basement to flush-out the elusive monster…

But he can’t.

Because he’s also highly allergic to piles of useless crap.

All this to say that when my little kids asked me recently for pet fish and lizards, my answer was a strong NO. My track record isn’t great and I don’t need anything else around here that poops. I won’t be buying fish unless they come battered and golden. And the idea of a free-loading lizard loose in my home makes me want to punch a gopher and breathe into a bag.

The kids have assured me that they’d never put a leash on a goldfish or let a giant lizard live rent free in the garage, and I’d like to believe them.

But if they don’t stop whining for pets, I’m sending them down to play “Monster Quest” in grandpa’s basement.









27 thoughts on “Goldfish are fun, but you don’t want to pet them.

  1. I grew up in a menagerie of all sorts of pets but ours is a pet-free household. I don’t need the extra expense and chores involved. I did relent a couple of years ago and permitted my kids to have some pets. We rescued some Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches from the local pet store (they had been bought as lizard food but the lizards were scared of them). They actually make for interesting pets. Not cuddly but low cost and quite fascinating to look at. Also difficult to get a pet-sitter for when away from home. The last of our cockroaches died just before we emigrated so we did not have to rehome him thankfully. So we are back to being a pet-free household and it is staying that way. My two youngest sons are pining for a pug. Not. Happening.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Haha I loved this!! I was the allergy freak in our family, ironically we lived on a farm when I was younger so everyday I was a wheezing mess! I wasn’t a lover of the farm cats and dogs, I tended to befriend the sheep and cows…and well our friendships were always short but sweet 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • Haha! Not really! I have kids and pets, so my tolerance for *actually* barfing is off the charts. It was just that the description is so accurate and that a living creature actually wants to eat it. 🙂
        And thank you, and likewise. I look so forward to your posts! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What an awesome read! At my parents place, all the goldfish we ever owned would always end up doing the backstroke atop the bowl. But, the ones we have now (I mean, post marriage, at my new place), the two of them are surviving midst all the hullabaloo. My little brat also gets to see them poop and he goes..’aaah’.. You know the trick I guess is to not to overfeed them. My dad used to feed them they grew fat and eventually felt traumatized in the bowl-ish environment. My husband on the other hand feeds them poorly. And, look, they are hale and hearty..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The most we had as the kids were growing up was 3 large aquariums and 4 cats. The aquariums were necessary to keep the cats busy. I’ve always loved watching the fish at night, turning off all of the lights in the house while leaving the aquarium lights on. The cats got their own bench to sit on and watching their heads dart back and forth as the fish did the same was quite amusing. Aquariums do make an awful mess when a seem decides to burst.

    There was always a dog as I grew up and have had several along the way as an adult. No longer having children at home, I am down to one cat and she is about 17 years old now. I believe she will be the last of the pets. I had thought of getting what I refer to as a pocket puppy, a dog that once full grown doesn’t weigh more than 3 or 4 pounds. Any more though, it’s all I can do to take care of me, but we’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to admit, I feel sorry for Uncle Fun, who actually sounds like a bit of a killjoy…poor guy, preventing the whole family from having any of the cool pets because his ability to breathe is more important.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Don’t you dare feel sorry for him. God made up for the allergies by giving him stunning good looks and incredible talent in every single stinkin thing he does.

      Plus he’s WAY funnier than me. I’m a bit jealous.


  6. This reminds me of the time that my Other Brother decided to get a pet frog. One day it hopped out of his glass aquarium, and decided that the best place to relax was a pile of laundry. We found it there a few days later.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So I got directed here via a friend’s link to your Costco post…and proceeded to read every last post. I thought this was, like, an old blog, and was quite heartbroken when I couldn’t find the “older posts” button anymore. I kept looking for it and finally realized…oh. I have reached the beginning. Bummer! (I’m a little slow, plus I’m writing this as a toddler pretending to be a dog licks my pants.) Anyway…I just want to say, I don’t often laugh OUT LOUD when I’m reading – it’s usually more of a snort or something – but I actually laughed out loud at these posts! I am one of six kids…grew up around many families of 10+. So your writing brings back some good memories. 🙂 I have 3 at present and would LOVE to have more, Lord willing.

    And lastly…I am SO GLAD to hear I’m not the only one whose kid poops 4 times before breakfast because of the candy reward. I wasn’t sure if it was a conspiracy, or if I needed to put her on a diet of flaxseeds, pomegranate skins, broccoli juice, and pterosaur bone broth to heal her leaky gut. I’m leaning more in the conspiracy direction now. Thanks for clearing that up for me. 😉

    P.S. I haven’t written on my blog in 2 years. Probably shouldn’t even link to it. I am both ashamed and inspired to do better! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • I loved this comment and I laughed out loud at the “dog” licking your leg. How hilarious! That’s exactly the way my preschoolers act. Lol

      I saw two comments from you and I kept the one with the most writing. WordPress makes us manually approve all comments from brand new commenters, but once approved, wordpress will immediately publish all subsequent comments. 🙂 So I knew what happened.

      I’m so glad you came by, that you enjoyed reading and that you took the time to leave me a great message. Makes my heart so happy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Gotcha! 🙂 Thanks for replying! And for real…I am allergic to dogs, and even if I wasn’t I would specifically avoid the yappy type…but at any given point in the day, passers-by would be sure that I have a whole pack of toy poodles in my house with all the play barking that goes on around here. Ha! Anyway, as my 5-year-old said the other day when my toddler was bouncing around, “Mommy had a KANGAROO by ACCIDENT!!!” Or perhaps puppies. By accident. Anyway, I’ll leave you alone now. 😉 Blessings!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh, my goodness, you are FUNNY!!
    I do not like pets. But we had fighting fish for my kids. Guess what, they fight to the death! Who knew?? Later, we got them tiny, cute, STINKIN hamsters. They also fought to the death! Who knew?? That discovery was a lot more gruesome, and traumatic. Hamsters have real blood and guts.


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