I think fish are pets that least fit the description.
And I think I know why: it’s their eyes.
Fish can’t blink, and it makes them look fake. You look at all those fish in finding Nemo and whaddya see?
The little fuckers have eyelids.
When you’re small - as most fish tend to be - you need eyelids to tell people shit. This is why mini versions of things (babies, puppies, hobbits) all have eyelids so they can tell you stuff without talking. Fish can’t show emotion, much less return it.
A happy fish and a depressed fish look the same.
Without eyelids, fish aren’t much of anything unless they’re colourful (clown fish, neon tetra) or big enough to hurt you (sharks, certain species of garoupa).
Now a fish with a medical condition is endlessly fascinating.
Raggedy tails, growths on the stomach, immediately make fish more interesting.
Our fish had something called dropsy.
What happens is the fish begins to bloat and swell unnaturally. So much in fact, that its scales begin to lift off its body making the fish looked spiked, the way a cat’s fur bristles when it’s on edge. If your goldfish suddenly looks like a swimming orange pine cone, it’s got dropsy.
My brother and I watched with morbid fascination as one of my dad’s goldfish morphed into this terrible creature, a fish other fish wouldn’t play with or invite to bump against the aquarium glass on Wednesday mornings.
Only the turtle, possibly feeling some kind of common quality (they were both grotesque motherfuckers) was unfazed.
My dad tried putting medication into the water but to no avail. The goldfish continued to expand and my brother and I began to worry.
What if it died?
What if it ruptured and we weren’t there to see it vent its little goldfish guts into those crystal, chlorinated waters?
Then one morning, it was gone.
We checked methodically.
The water wasn’t cloudy, so the fat orange fuck couldn’t have popped (there’d be bits of him everywhere wouldn’t there?)
He didn’t jump out.
He didn’t just croak or he’d be belly up on the surface, bobbing like some silly sequined golf ball.
Then we noticed the turtle on the bottom.
It looked at us and opened its mouth, like it was yawning.
In its tiny jaws, staring straight at us, was a single unblinking eye.