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  Ode To Harvey 12:54 PM -- Wed January 25, 2006  

Harvey is dying. He's been slowly doing so for the last couple of weeks. He just seems more miserable every day as he loses the ability to move around where he wants, or even to remain upright, and today he simply lays on the ground. I never really cared about Harvey until he started dying. I still don't really care about him, he's nothing to me other than a little more work, he's not even interesting to watch, really. But he's still a living being, as noble and good as a fish can be, given that a fish has no concept of goodness or nobility and will happily devour anyone smaller than itself. So even though he's really not someone I care about in any way, and he's had no impact on my life other than a little bit of work every day, and he's done nothing for me, it hurts to see him suffering. There's also an element of responsibility. His tank got infested with parasites recently, and we're responsible for that. We didn't deal with it for a while, and now he's dying. So is it our fault? Yes. Anything that happens to him is our fault, as he's entirely under our power.

Such is the problem with pets. Once you claim a life as belonging to you, you bear all the responsibility for it. A long time ago I decided not to have any more pets because of the inevitable pain of it (and I really decided on no fish ever! Harvey and his long-dead friends were very much not my idea!). I don't know if that was a right or wrong call - it was cowardly, of course, but isn't it also stupid to say "I will continue to stick my hand on this hot stove"? That's how I view fish at least - you don't get anything good for the downside. They're just work followed by guilt. At least cats and dogs give you something back.

But anyway, we did get pets, 2 lovely kittens (I'm not at all sure how that happened), and we bear the responsibility of them, and the damaged furniture, and the vet bills that absolutely dwarf our own medical expenses, and all the food and litter cleaning. And we get fuzzy snuggles. Then we added another cat, which was a more appropriate thing - Bonsai needed a home, and we make very good kitty parents. We didn't entirely seek him out. Then yet another! We didn't have a choice with Ollie, he claimed us and wouldn't leave us alone.

So, I am sorry that Harvey is dying, and it's my fault, and I wish he would get it over with, because he really seems to be suffering. And no way am I going to decide when it's appropriate to put an end to that, that's not a part of my skill set. Hey, maybe he'll get better! That's always a theoretical possibility. Oh, and his name is actually Sunset, I just started calling him Harvey a few weeks ago. I like it better.

So raise a glass to Harvey J. Sunset, the best person that he could be, given the limitations of being a fish. He's certainly the survivingest fish we've had, and at least according to natural selection, that makes him the greatest fish of all.
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