Tree Stump Jell-O Pudding

It is the end of the school year and that is true also for North Como Pre-School up on Larpenteur Avenue. My daughter Olivia is “graduating” from there this spring (notice how many grades graduate these days?) and being it’s the end of the year, the resident Betta fish needed a home and Olivia was chosen among the whole class to have the fish. What an honor for her and a $30 tab for us to purchase the tiny tank, bubbler, plastic plants, water purifier, and so on.

I was first thinking we go full-on to a ten or twenty gallon tank as I had in high school. (I remember crumpling tin foil and then opening it up and putting it behind the tank. The light reflected off it at all sorts of groovy angles. It was a sweet 70’s era fish pad.) We could then fill it with rosy barbs, tiger barbs and any other fish we wanted. But someone pointed out to me that the Betta is rather unsociable with other fish, particularly other Bettas. In fact, put a mirror up to the side and the Betta would bash it’s little fish head against the image until it died. (I do wonder what the Betta would think of the disjointed image from my tin foil background. Some one-eyed Picasso-esque image of himself staring back. Freaky for the Betta no doubt.)

So we blew $30 on a tank for one fish we never asked for. A fish who has to live alone its entire life. An angry killer fish unable to inhabit space with any other fish – or he’ll kill it. Nice.

Anyhow, my daughter named her fish Tree Stump Jell-O Pudding. Middle name: Jackson. It’s a nice name, evocative of nature and, for me, Bill Cosby. The Jackson bit I’m not sure about but I don’t see us using the middle name much as Tree Stump Jell-O Pudding is rather much to say already.

After purchasing the tank at a store that overcharged us no doubt, we went to Target (where the kids were unruly, annoying and bordering on nutso) and after checking out, Jana and the kids walked ahead and I purposely hung back 25 feet to have, and I’m serious about this, a few moments of relative quiet. It was bliss. I walked past the checkouts in what felt like slow motion. I shut out every sound. I walked blissfully toward the exit, alone, like a Betta, though not as ornery.

But soon, Olivia turned and saw me, and as she is wont to do, felt bad for me all alone back there and came running over. It’s great to be loved. And odd that the only quiet time I get is at the busy checkout of Target. Maybe if I was a bit more ornery…

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