Yesterday I took 85 world history students up to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Each year I try and take my students some place they might not ordinarily go. In the past I’ve brought them to Norton-Simon Museum of Art, the Huntington Gardens and Libraries, and the Museum of Tolerance. Other then the hour it took to get from the museum to freeway to come hour (damn that LA traffic), the trip was nice.
While on the bus, I did enjoy talking to one of the parent chaperones about the sub-cultures at my school. With 125+ adults on campus, most of us know what is going on in our building or departments, but that’s about it. Each group has its politics and drama. Most of it is contained, but is often disrupted by new additions, unforeseen events, and interventions by higher powers. The current labor situation is the epitome of this.
This morning I was looking at my fish tank and made the random connection between that conversation and my fish. I’ve had a fish tank for about 15 years now. I have been on the verge of getting rid of it numerous times. If it weren’t for the fact that my kids love it, it would be gone. During those 15 years I’ve had at least 100 different fish, the small cheap kind of course. Funny how some life is small and cheap. Anyway, fish have come and gone. There was the great fish exodus of ’96. Within two days six or seven fish jumped out of the tank. It must have been really bad in there for them to jump. Then there was the time that the angel fish kept sending others to deep end of the tank in the middle of the night. Oh, and the time we took a particularly aggressive fish out of the tank and left him in a Tupperware on the coffee table. We came home a few hours later and found an empty Tupperware and a guilty-looking dog.
A few days ago one of the fish had 19 babies. Little tiny things. Unfortunately, they were all either born dead or deformed. The mommy fish even ate one the babies. I kept poking my finger in the water trying to stop it, but my efforts were for naught. We set up a little fish nursery – with the hope of stopping the other fish from feasting on the frys. The mesh netting did not stop the largest fish from literally sucking out the life from the remaining babies. In the end, all were dead. A couple days later the mommy fish died too.
So what did we do? We headed over to Petco and got a few more fish. We know it is the wrong lesson to teach the kids, but the tank just looked so empty.
We thought it was all over; peace had been restore to the kingdom. Then Swimmy the frog disappeared. I flashed on my college days when a similar frog disappeared, only to be found weeks later on the kitchen floor by my roommate in the biannual cleaning of the apartment. This aquatic drama ended happily, he had crawled under the castle and got trapped inside of it. No doubt the frenzy of the birthing and/or the entry of the new fish created some tension and he just needed some time alone.
I know the feeling.
I wish everyone would just let us do what we do best. We have enough to worry about, we don’t need the fear of that big arm reaching into our tank and mucking with what is working just fine.