My Fish Tank isn’t listed as a Republican party donor, so I thought I’d pop down and buy myself a few new aquarium fish. Because I’m very responsible like that.
I thought I’d get a few clown loaches, but they were all out. So, because it is the season of impulse purchases and buying something is better than showing restraint, I bought 3 yoyo botias, which are black and white loaches. (Loaches are like little schooling eels. But cute eels. That’s really all you need to know.) Anyway, because I haven’t bought myself enough gifts this season, I decided to splurge and also buy an elephant nose, a.k.a. Gnathonemus petersi.
Elephant noses are very intriguing. The one I bought is about 4 inches long and has attractive fins and a jaunty stripe as well as a darling little flexible nose, which is actually not a nose but rather an electric probe. I won’t go on about that, but even non-aquarists have to admit the possibilities for jokes and innuendo are endless! She was very expensive and it was with much pride and joy that I brought her home. Almost as much joy as if I was getting a gift for someone else.
I did all the right things. I let the fish in their bags float in the tank to get the water temperatures regulated. Then I put a bit of tank water into the bags. Then a bit more. And then, because I was on a consumer binge, I popped down the street to buy myself a reflective vest for my nightly run. I returned to find that tragedy had struck.
Elephant nose jumped out of her bag while I was away! She and her electric probe lay limply on the floor! Dead! I killed elephant nose through neglect and I only had her for half an hour.
Shame and panic fought for control, but practicality won out. I picked her up and put her back in her tank. She quickly floated belly up. No good! It was too late to perform mouth-to-gill resuscitation! I straightened her out and wiggled her back and forth, like one does when catch-and-releasing a trout or salmon. Success! Elephant nose, whom somewhere in the midst of the emergency I’d decided to call Myrna, stirred. (Something about the way she lay on the floor, so sad, yet so peaceful suggested the name. Anyway…)
She floated out of my hand and hung crookedly in the tank. She wasn’t looking healthy. Not at all. But the faint whirring of her fins suggested she was a real fighter, like all Myrnas everywhere.
James and I stood back.
“You killed her,” he said.
“No! Look! She’s moving her eyes!”
“It’s rigor mortis setting in,” he said.
The Donnas (the neon and white cloud tetras), and the yoyo botias schooled around Myrna’s listless form, concern written all over their faces. (If you looked at their faces really hard.) Then I had an idea. Turn off the aquarium light!
The second the light went out Myrna gave a great splash. She revived! She swam around the tank, probing stuff with her probe, and finally settled into the glass tube I bought her to hang out in. Myrna was saved! I don’t want to be sacrilegious or anything, and I admit that the parallels might not be immediately obvious to everyone, but it seems to me that Myrna seems to have a few things common with that other great lady. I’m talking about Mary now, people.
Let’s see: Myrna appears to be a virgin. She has not had an easy life, at least since I got her. She’s no stranger to coming back from the dead. But the big difference is that in Myrna’s case SHE came back. She’s like a postmodern third wave feminist Mary/fish. She didn’t sit around waiting for her son to be risen again. She just went out and did it herself! Who knows why she jumped out of her bag?! Maybe she saw a lost wise man or something. This may sound like more of an Easter theme, but keep in mind that I’m often a little out of synch.
If anyone would like to pay a visit to Mary, I mean Myrna, perhaps after paying homage to that other great Mary-likeness which was found recently in a grilled cheese sandwich in New Jersey, we will be allowing viewings in the New Year. Please note that frankincense and myrrh will be taken at the door but cash is preferred.
(The black smear-looking thing on the left is Myrna. She is quite shy and demure. She may be a third wave feminist, but that doesn’t mean she has to be pushy.)