Non-petable pets

Had Brian not brought it up, the notion of fleas for pets would never have crossed my mind. But now that you mention it, there is something appealing about pets that you can deliberately kill without incurring any trauma or guilt. Perhaps that says something disturbing about my innate violent streak.

Hey! I could start a flea circus! Do you remember flea circuses? Has anyone ever actually seen a flea circus? Once upon a time I read something about training fleas. The first step is to figure out which of your fleas are the smart ones. You do this by putting the fleas in a jar and putting the jar near a heat source, like a 100 watt bulb. The smart fleas are the ones that move to the far side of the jar to get away from the heat. The dumb fleas are the dead ones. You throw away the dumb fleas and train the smart ones. Unless the jar is too small and even the fleas that move away from the light are too close, and all of the fleas die. Then you are the dumb one.

(Why am I wasting precious gray matter remembering that?)

Under the heading of making lemonade out of the lemons life hands you, one could accept the reality of living in the south and decide to make pets of one's cockroaches.

Or not.

Ever since I learned, in ninth grade biology class, that sponges are part of the animal kingdom, I have wanted a pet sponge. I would keep him (her? it? I don't remember -- sponges don't have sex, do they?) in an aquarium and name him (for the sake of argument) Peeve.

Despite this long-standing wish to have a pet sponge, I have never actually investigated the feasibility of raising sea sponges in an aquarium, and I am going to resist the impulse to google for it now. I suspect that sponges might actually be fairly high-maintenance pets, despite being low-maintenance animals.

Nevertheless, sponges are the only aquarium-dwelling pets that hold serious appeal for me. More traditional aquarium/terrarium-bound pets, like lizards or salamanders (or sea monkeys), lack the novelty or cuteness to redeem their unpetability. And fish, the archetypal aquarium-dwellers, just don't do it for me as pets. Fish as decor or fish as food, I'm fine with. But not as pets.

I have no conscious memories of being seriously distraught by the passings of any of the goldfish we had when I was a child, but I have a suspicion that there may be a deep-set subconscious trauma there that will need to be explored with my therapist someday. (Note to parents: if your highly sensitive two-year-old displays an inclination to name her goldfish after beloved family members, it might be a good idea to try to put a stop to this.)

So no fish. But I can see myself being won over by a nice box turtle.

In my next installment (unless something important comes up in the interim), I will discuss why dogs are a spiritually superior pet.


Peter Onigan said...

You beat me to the punch in the second to last paragraph.

I have been eyeing some aquarium bound turtles that are both cute and petable. I'm tempted to get an aquarium that will allow me to mix them with some fish.

I tried going with just plants for a while, but it generated a vicious cycle. As long as the plant was pretty, I was motivated to keep it healthy. Once the plant got a little ugly, my motivation started to slip, and as the plant got worse and worse, I gave up all together. I intend to do better with the turtle.

CyberianTygre said...

Pet sponges.

CyberianTygre said...

Despite the fact that my confirmation name is Francis, I am skeptical that Brother Wolf is a spiritually superior anything.

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