January 17, 2014

On The Rebound: If you don’t want it, flush it

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — In a recent column, I mentioned five people enjoy reading what I write. The number has grown by 40 percent to seven people. It’s pretty overwhelming.

For example, while leaving the library last week, one of the adoring fans came running after me in the parking lot. Well actually she was just running and I happened to be in the way. She did however mention the column about finding an egg in my coat pocket. That led to the usual small talk, including the weather, local sports, and flushing fish down the toilet.

I thought I had the upper hand with stories about my children flushing live fish down the toilet because they didn’t want them anymore. I blame that one on Walt Disney and Nemo. We have a whole generation of children that thought the toilet led to the ocean and freedom. They also believe animals can talk and frogs become princes. The only one Disney got right is mermaids. I have seen those at Laurel Lake.

Then I told the story of the goldfish that killed all the other fish. It seemed all sweet and lovely until we noticed the other fish were missing a few things like fins and eyeballs. This felon fish was punished by not being given any more water. I would slip in to feed the fish to avoid animal cruelty charges.  The water got so low I joked that the fish was growing legs. The children refused to add any water to the tank. Last time I checked the fish was still alive, but would have its gills out of the water if it stood on tippy tail.

While my stories were cute, they did not compare to her story. Seems they raised a rather large bubble eye goldfish. This fish was so large that when it met it’s demise, a child attempted to flush it down the toilet. Attempted is the key word. The fish became lodged and someone had to reach into hole and pull out the fat fish.

Not all of our pets have been treated as poorly as goldfish. Most get a proper burial in the back yard. We stand over them with solemn faces and say a few kind words. We place a large stone over the grave so nothing will disturb the sacred ground. Then we grill out.

 Someday an archeologist will find the remains of dogs, cats, a rabbit, chickens, and various other critters in the backyard. They will wonder what kind of people lived in this lair and feasted on so many different species. Then they will discover a small box and inside they will assume is the body of a sacred pet or a deity.

No it’s just a hamster. Not even one I particularly liked. If the death of the hamster had been ruled murder, I would have been a prime suspect. The only attention it got from me was when I stuck my tongue out at it. But when it met an untimely end, there were some in the household overcome with grief. I found a small, wooden cologne box and added artwork. We placed trinkets inside that might mean something to a hamster. He was laid to rest in a shady spot next to an azalea bush.

I hope he is comfortable, but I still when I go past I sometimes stick out my tongue.