by Spooky Jess
A memoir about a childhood fish named Slim Shady, after Eminem.
A Fish Named Shady (As in Slim Shady)
It would be an understatement to describe my childhood years as interesting - eclectic is more like it. I remember having crushes on Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) and Eminem from Summer 2000-Summer 2002. That two year span proved obsessive to my pre-teen self when I decorated my room with Limp Bizkit and Eminem posters. I even had a shirt that said "Property of Slim Shady."
I remember Valentine's Day 2001 when I finished play practice for the middle school's upcoming production of Fiddler On the Roof. Dad picked me up at 5:15; it was finally getting darker a little later. Dad said there was a surprise waiting for me. Fortunately, the drive from school to home was five minutes, but to an excited 11 and a half year old girl, it seemed to take forever. But once dad parked his blue 1991 Oldsmobile (we called it the blue bomber because it always broke down until we replaced it with a 2001 Chevy Malibu in 2003), I hopped out and ran through the kitchen door.
Waiting on the kitchen table was a pink envelope, a box of chocolates, a pink teddy bear and a flower vase with lilies and beta fish living in the water (they breathed in oxygen from the lilies). Dad was always good about buying me things for Valentine's Day and to this day he still does because I am still his special little girl. Dad came inside the house and said, "Happy Valentine's Day, Wee!" I gave him a hug and a kiss. I named the betta fish Slim Shady after Eminem and Fred after Fred Durst because I loved those two guys to death.
However, according to Wikipedia, Betta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish) “The aggression of this fish has been studied by ethologists and comparative psychologists.These fish have historically been the objects of gambling; two male fish are pitted against each other in a fight and bets are placed on which one will win. One fish is almost always killed as a result. To avoid this, male Siamese fighting fish are best isolated from one another. Males will occasionally even respond aggressively to their own reflections in a mirror. Though this is obviously safer than exposing the fish to another male, prolonged sight of their reflection can lead to stress in some individuals. Not all Siamese fighting fish respond negatively to other male fish, especially if there are not many of them and they are in another tank.”
Sadly, Slim Shady attacked Fred and when we removed Fred from the fish bowl, he was half eaten. I was sad about it, but dad still muses about that incident and says, “That fish said, ‘I hate you!’ and ate him like Hannibal Lector!” I can’t help laugh because in real life Slim Shady (Eminem) was having a feud with Fred (Fred Durst), so it’s ironic in a way. Fortunately, Slim Shady survived until 2004. He was a great pet alongside Woo. Although I was delighted by Slim Shady, I’m not sure if I’d get another Betta since they’re so aggressive, but to a pre-teen, the experience was eye opening.