Fish eating

The Frankenstein Project

“It’s alive. It’s alive.” Yup, knock me over with a feather, but I may be the only person I know who cannot kill a goldfish with neglect, overfeeding, or murky water. My last blog I explained how my husband and I got a COVID hobby of putting goldfish in our back pond and training them to gather for chow time when we stomp our feet on the dock.

I was so proud of myself to not only train the pet store fish, but also the native fish (that by the way we do not remember ever putting there). My husband fed them in the morning, I fed them in the evening. The designer color enhancing mega food was delivering as promised and then some. The fish were vibrant in color and doubling in size within a month. I ignored the fact that the little orange Cheetos ™ that I tossed out by the handful smelled like dried conch. In fact, the bag mentioned fish byproducts. So, wait. I am teaching my sweet goldfish to become cannibals? Okay, not like I have a choice. I didn’t see vegan goldfish food at the local pet store. And something tells me if I did it would be the cost of a rib-eye steak. But I digress.

Feeding fish

As the big fish got bigger, we decided (because, well, COVID quarantine affects the judgement) to buy more fish. Another 10 were added to our (okay, I lost count after 90) let’s say overcrowded school.

I would have an exact count, but it turns out that goldfish are even less responsive to commands than cats. We started taking photos so we could determine if we had lost any of the “jazzy” ones to predators. No such luck. As the social distancing continued on dry land, our brood with ever more babies swam in a tight knit configuration. It was mesmerizing to watch, like dry snorkeling…until one day.

I am not sure if it started slowly and we were oblivious, or if it was all at once. But my innocent goldfish had become violent. This is a big pond, so there was lots of room to chill, so it wasn’t that. And it was most noticeable at feeding time. We would scatter their pellets across the water and a fish food fight would break out. All at once 40 fish would swim for the food knocking each other out of range. It was the Hunger Games, only wetter. In the evening when we were losing daylight, I noticed a distinct snapping sound as they devoured their food. We kept throwing food and they kept up the snapping and thrashing. This has continued no matter how many times a day we feed them with a never-ending supply of food.

It is the fish equivalent of people knocking each other over to hoard toilet paper. The more abundant the food, the more frothing and roiling we saw.

And in an instant, I knew how God must feel. We are given the sun, the earth, the trees, creativity, and companionship and what do we do? We start wars, divisions and violence to “protect our turf” as if it’s ours, as if we manufactured any of it. Humans are greedy out of fear, but what’s up with the fish? Is the entire world living with a scarcity mindset? I want to scream to the fish, “This is school. Line up, take your turn and get your fins away from your neighbor. Geez Louise, there is enough food for seconds, thirds, and fourths. No one has to go hungry.” To paraphrase Dory from the “Nemo” movies, “I wish I could speak Goldfish.” I worked for Save the Children, UNICEF, and with The Hunger Project. Here is the fact: We have the resources to feed every single human on the planet. We choose not to. To my fish and the world I scream, “Knock it off!”

Sally Franz and her third husband live on the Olympic Peninsula. She has two daughters, a stepson, and three grandchildren. Sally is the author of several humor books including Scrambled Leggs: A Snarky Tale of Hospital Hooey and The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Menopause

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