Sherman & Mr. Peabody

I think it’s very important to have pets, especially if you live alone. Pets (e.g. dogs, cats, and birds) are great companions and can help you “decompress” at the end of a long, stressful day. I have two pets, Sherman and Mr. Peabody. Sherman is a blue Siamese Fighting Fish (which are also called “Bettas”). He lives in a 5-gallon tank on a shelf in my living room. I’ve had him for 7 months, after I won him at street carnival by throwing a ping pong ball into a fishbowl (my secret: backspin and a high trajectory).

Mr. Peabody is also a Siamese Fighting Fish and also blue. I got him when my (former) friend Leslie (a man) left him with me for the weekend because he heard I had a Siamese Fighting Fish already and then never came back to pick him up or responded to numerous texts, calls and e-mails.

Here’s the thing: It would be a lot easier to have two Siamese Fighting Fish if you could keep them in the same tank. But you can’t. Because they are FIGHTING fish and male Siamese Fighting Fish will kill each other if you put two of them together. So I have to have two tanks with two lights and two heaters and two noisy pumps and filters. If both heaters go on at once, it sometimes trips a circuit breaker like when you use the toaster and the coffee maker at the same time. The circuit breaker panel in my building is in the basement so its kind of inconvenient to reset it, especially at night, which is when both heaters usually go on.

The other funny thing about Sherman and Mr. Peabody is that the TV just drives them crazy. I think it’s something about the moving colors. But when you turn on the TV, they both start smashing themselves against the glass of their tanks. So I had to move the TV into my bedroom which is pretty small and doesn’t have a cable outlet. I had to run a long cable in from the living room, which means I can’t close the door all the way. I pretty much don’t use the living room anymore. Even without the TV the fish can get pretty worked up if I move around too much in there.

Still, it’s nice to have them for the companionship.

By the way, Mr. Peabody is named for the know-it-all cartoon dog who was one of my favorite characters when I was a little kid. My (former) friend Leslie had named him “Betta Grable,” but I changed it to “Mr. Peabody” when it became clear that Leslie had abandoned him. “Betta Grable” might be okay for a female Siamese Fighting Fish but is still pretty dumb. Sherman is named after the Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, who I think gets kind of a bad rap in the history books.