When I was little, I wanted a fish. I wanted to name it and watch it swim and love it forever. So I asked my dad for a fish. He bought me a tank with a really cool bubbler, and I spent hours watching the bubbles rise. Bubbles are fascinating when you’re little. Or, if you’re me, when you’re an adult, too, but we won’t talk about that.
After a year or so of watching the bubbles rise, I realized there were no actual fish in the tank. I went to my father again and asked for a fish. We went to the store and came home with a really pretty blue fish. He drifted lazily though the water. I would talk to him, he would drift. I would ask to feed him, my father would say it had already been done.
When I was finally big enough to reach into the tank, or rather to figure out I could move a chair and get to the top of the tank, I decided the time had come for me to pet the fish. I reached into the tank, prepared to have to lull my fish into letting me touch him, but he just kept floating along. I very gently cupped him in my hand and realized immediately that he was rubber. I had spent years talking to a rubber fish.
Apparently our water wasn’t the right PH. My father was afraid a real fish would die, so he just bought a rubber one. When I came to grips with the fact that my fish was rubber, I asked for more rubber friends to keep him company. Well played, father. Well played.