Don’t be a goldfish

Kristine Gill

My goldfish are happy campers. They swim around in their gallon tank all day, weaving in and out of their rock and playing in the gentle currents created by their filter. They don’t care what time it is, when their TV show is coming on or when they have to be ready for class. They don’t think about money, the fight they just had with their girlfriend or who is going to drive them home next weekend. They don’t even have to worry about food and where to find it because when I remember to, I dump orange and red flakes into their tank. I have no idea what fish food is made of, but they vacuum that stuff right up.ÿ

What a life. There are days I would give both arms and my ability to breathe above water to be a little goldfish in a little tank. Days when it seems more likely that God himself will come give me the option to morph into a cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrate than it is that I’ll finish my homework. I’ve heard goldfish have a three-second memory span. Some sources say it’s actually three months. Either way, there are things in my life I wouldn’t mind being unable to recall. As a final argument for my transformation into a finned and scaled water-breather, I’d like to point out the irony of my last name.

The only thing about having everything provided for you is that you have to depend on someone else for it. If I decide I’d rather watch “The Bachelor” find true love on ABC instead of cleaning out the fish tank, my fish are going to have to deal with that decision and swim around in rotting flake food excess for a few more days. If my name was Goldie and I lived in that tank, I would not be too crazy about that idea.

And when you don’t have to worry about many things, the little problems seem like crises. My fish flip out when I dump fresh water into their tank and it’s not the same temperature as the existing water. Sure these little guys are more sensitive to that sort of thing, but I truly feel that if they had something like a microeconomics test to occupy themselves, that little jump in temperature wouldn’t seem so intense. And if they found out grandma goldfish had come down with a bad case of fin rot, they wouldn’t even notice that cold water.

On a Thursday night at 2 a.m., I’m jealous of every carefree student on campus who’s out drinking like a fish and struggling to recall what happened a few minutes ago, while I sit staring at my computer screen and hoping for some late night inspiration to help me finish my assignment.

Goldfish are cute. They’re fun, cuddly, affectionate, easy to care for and easy to please. But you don’t want to be one. Demand more than flake food, fight monotony, take a risk and jump that fish bowl. When you find yourself outside of the tank, gasping for air and reeling with the possibilities the real world offers, pray that you can recall more than the last three seconds, and why you did it.

Kristine Gill is a newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].