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The Student News Website of Francis Howell North High School.

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Fish Tank Fiasco [Personal Column]

Fish+Tank+Fiasco+%5BPersonal+Column%5D
Credit to Drew Johnson and Chase Pray

They say all life is born good. It’s an interesting philosophy by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but it is also wrong. My new philosophy, created purely to disapprove Rousseau, is that fish named Penelope are the devil.

Picture this: you, a child, go to PetsMart. You are walking past the fish section when your parents mention that you, the child, can pick out some fish for a tank.

Overjoyed. That was the word to describe me, fresh out of school for the day, in the place I loved most, buying three yellow fish. In all of my kindergarten glory, I, 5 years old, stand in front of these three yellow fish and reach deep down to my soul to dub them Penelope, Penelope, and Penelope. Perhaps this was the catalyst for their bloodshed, being reduced to a yellow cliche, rid of all individuality.

The Penelopes were not the only fish in their tank. Multiple species of fish, most irrelevant to my little, pea-sized brain, but not exempt from the horrors of this particular tank. The most memorable were the two catfish, in love and thriving. This would not last.

Two weeks in. The tank seems a little emptier than it was, though not overly so. The Penelopes, coincidentally, seem fatter. We have new citizens in the tank, and delivery of baby catfish, courtesy of the lovers. This too would not last.

The turning point. Penelope, now known as Penelope 1, was found dead under a fake piece of kelp. Suicide, or something darker? The fish tank is now noticeably emptier.

Another sad instance of fish death, one of our angelfish takes “Highway to Heaven” far too seriously and jumps ship. The blame is given to the water quality. The Penelopes, sans the obvious, seem unbothered.

The baby catfish have been reduced in numbers from around 30 to 1, single, lonely child. The remaining fish are restless. It seems we have a murderer in the tank.

It all started when I was around 5 years old. It all ended barely a month later. Penelope 2 and 3, now confirmed killers of 29 baby catfish, one of the older catfish, and even their own blood, Penelope 1, along with countless others.

Penelope 3, perhaps seized by guilt at her actions, is found belly up and unharmed a day later. Penelope 2, as the only fish left in the tank and the only culprit left, receives punishment via toilet bowl.

We got rid of the fish tank. Maybe fish just aren’t for us.

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