Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Improper Poll: Fishing for Tact

This is Fish Day for me—the day I clean out my itsy bitsy pond and get it ready for winter. It’s grueling and nasty and smelly work, so I’m taking one of many breaks.

Not too long ago my 18 year old daughter bought a beta, and the fish promptly died. So I went with her to the store to figure out what went wrong. Fortunately this store had a very knowledgeable manager who was willing to discuss all of the aspects of fish care with her. Every time the manager would bring up the nature of the fish’s condition, he used a euphemism. They started out very commonplace. The fish was a “floater.” It “went to that big fishbowl in the sky.”

But as he went on, his creativity kicked in. Even though the pet was a fish and the owner was a legal adult, the manager never forgot what I’m sure is a cardinal rule of pet shop management, which is always to respect the bereaved when dealing with a deceased pet. Lucky for us, he was loath to use the same phrase twice, so they got increasingly interesting. The fish “met the other fishes in fish heaven,” “went to live in the big sea,” and my personal favorite, “swam with the other fishes.”

But back to the pond. The above is an old picture. Sad to say, since Bob’s recent demise at the age of eight, I am down to two goldfish—Leopard and H.C. Bob was my favorite, though. It appeared to have been natural causes, at least. He turned into an angel fish.  Swam up the river Styx.  Kicked the chum bucket. Bought the hatchery. Swam toward the light down the big porcelain tunnel.

Do you have any entertaining euphemisms for death?


  1. Will giggle spontaneously for the rest of the evening at least about that one, Val. Have never heard it before.

  2. Pushing up daisies, or the final flush

  3. How about:

    checking out the grass from underneath...

    bought a pine condo...

    went into the fertilizer business...

    is picking turnips with a step ladder...

    winning one for the reaper...

    Sioux @ http://siouxspage.blogspot.com

  4. I'm brainless - but cute story. Sorry about the fishy that bit the bullet (see, so original). But your fish tank looks really cool.

  5. Haha. . .all I can come up with is:

    Became food for the worms (Ha! The ultimate irony!)

    P.S. Sorry about Bob.

  6. I always wondered where angel fish came from, now I know. I don't do death well but I had a suicidal fish once. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. These are so funny...Pine condo! Picking turnips! Why had I not heard these? And I'd forgotten about the daisies and bullet-biting, even. Thank you, Lisa, for your fish sympathies, and I'm so sorry, Jules, about your suicidal one. A jumper, was it??


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