Watching You Watching Me: Our Family Through The Eyes Of Our Pet Fish, Fishley

It ain’t easy bein’ a fish.

Not long ago I decided it was time to start working on the old bucket list again. No matter how hard I squish my eyes and hold my breath and wish upon a star, time is apparently not going in reverse for me and there are still a bunch of monumental things I need to do, breathtaking places I need to visit visit, exotic foods I need to taste, and at last 243 micro-brew beers I still have yet to try.

But, just like everything else in my world, I was sort of stumped. I mean, where to start, you know?

I looked at a list of some stuff I had written down recently and decided to just go from there.

Spend a month in a hut on a beach in Thailand. (Nah. That one was out. My wife would want to go too and well…)

Skydiving (Seeing it written out on paper in pen ink made me realize that I actually confused ‘skydiving’ with something else. Namely, ‘not skydiving. So, that was out.)

Make passionate love to a woman under the April stars on the roof of a Paris hotel. (Damn, My wife would wanna go to Paris too, I am sure of that. So…yeah…once again, that idea was out.)

Get a pet fish.


A pet fish. Hmmmm. That seemed doable. I have always wanted a pet fish, and even though I have never had one I have helped keep two kids and two dogs alive, so I figured that I could handle a fish, right?

Yeah. A pet fish, I thought to myself.


Boom. Done. Number one on the new bucket list was crossed off as I herded Violet, 3, and Henry, 1, into the car and along with my wife we headed straight for the pet store to make one of my dreams come true.

Now, he’s here. Violet named him, Fishley, and he’s awesome. He’s a Betta fish about the size of a McNugget and he lives in a gallon-sized fish bowl of the classic 1950’s variety on the island in our kitchen.

Which means he sees us a lot. We’re kitchen people, you see, always hovering around in there, eating and doing dishes and talking and opening the mail and playing with the fly swatters (Henry) and drinking wine (wife) and standing there staring out the window, gazing longingly/wistfully back over the mountains toward the east, toward gay Paris, and then further still, to enchanted Thailand.

Fishley sees it all.

With that it mind, I decided that it might be a cool idea to let our newest family member tell you what exactly he’s been clocking down there in his lukewarm galaxy.

So, here it is: Fishley’s take on life with the Bielankos.

  • Who Dat? 1 of 11
    Who Dat?
    I guess that getting adopted is good thing. I mean, I didn't wanna live in my take-away soup container forever, right? But still, it's pretty shocking when you first lay eyes on some of these humungous Air Suckers and realize that, hey, I think that's them! I think they're buying me! To be honest, at first glance, I thought the miniature Air Suckers were cute and the older lady one has a pretty rockin' body for her advanced age (remember, I think in Fish Years!), but the hairy-faced excitable Air Sucker kind of freaked me out at first. He was in my business, staring at me through the clear walls and tapping and stuff. Ugh.
  • The Crazy Little Guy 2 of 11
    The Crazy Little Guy
    The one tiny Air Sucker is pretty funny. He loves to smoosh his food into his hair and inside his head holes. Or, I guess you call them ears. I like watching him in the morning when he always has a super small zebra or walrus that he dines with.
  • The Crazy Little Guy, Part II 3 of 11
    The Crazy Little Guy, Part II
    It is funny though. Sometimes when tiny Air Sucker is loose in the house, he ends up climbing up on the kitchen island where I live (which is actually known as Mount Fishley, FYI). Then, as no one else in the house knows he's up there, he'll sing me Air Sucker songs that make no sense. But the look in his eyes says he means no harm, and frankly, I like his passionate singing a lot better than Big Beard's. He sings like Michael Bolton getting his nipple pierced.
  • My Friend, Miss Oatmeal 4 of 11
    My Friend, Miss Oatmeal
    Miss Oatmeal is the older of the two tiny Air Suckers and I dig her a lot. She eats her oatmeal every morning right outside my glass walls. Man, does that little lady love her oatmeal. She also loves yogurt and cheese and hummus and mashed potatoes and carrots and scrambled eggs too. She always has a 'Good Morning Fishley!' for me when she first climbs up Mount Fishley in the morning. But there is one thing about her that irks me a little. See, she's a big fish-stick eater. Like right there in front of me. Once I swear I heard the voice of my long lost Uncle Cod calling out my name while she was gobbling one of those things down. Awkward!
  • It’s Getting Hot In Heeeere! 5 of 11
    It's Getting Hot In Heeeere!
    I love the tiny Air Suckers now. They are my family and I accept them as such and am actually glad I ended up here, in this joint. And I have even come to be able to stomach Big Beard because he does most of my meals (hey, dude, a little variety maybe??!!). But, as much as I try and catch the eye of that mama Air Sucker, she just pretty much blows me off every time. And that bums me out too, because DAY-UHM!: she is fine as wine, people. Nice tush. Sexxy oceanic eyes. Really big....well, you get the idea. Most of the time though, when she's out there in the room, the kids are all over the glass walls and so I swim around like an electric eel on 'roids trying to get a little visual taste of her, but the tiny Air Suckers flap and wave at me and I can't see a damn thing. Ugh. I hate to say it, but I think I might have a thing for that M.I.L.S.(Mom I'd Like To Splash).
  • House Of Old Music 6 of 11
    House Of Old Music
    Listen, I don't have much to complain about really, so don't get the wrong idea here, okay? Big Beard rolls me out my dried krill pellets and the kids give me lots of attention and Miss Thang keeps my fish blood boiling, so things are pretty straight-up good. But I have to mention one thing. All these people listen to on the turntable is really old music like Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. I mean, man, you'd think it's 1942 up in here. I like the old stuff, but if I don't get a couple AC/DC records for Christmas I might start playing dead to make Big Beard cry!
  • I Am Fishley, Hear Me Roar! 7 of 11
    I Am Fishley, Hear Me Roar!
    Sometimes when Big Beard lets the tiny Air Suckers dribble krill bits down inside my glass castle, I am just bored enough with things to decide to put on a show for them. I'll start whipping around real fast and darting through my plastic leaves and then I'll just slip into heavy attack mode and slam into those dried flakes of food as if I were a Great White, baby! Oh boy, those kiddos love it so much! They laugh and point at me and scream out that it's just like Shark Week! But then sometimes I catch a glimpse of Big Beard while I'm in the middle of my show and he'll be out there, nose to the glass wall, as excited as anybody and that 'noids me out, dude. So, then I quit it.
  • Danger! 8 of 11
    There isn't a lot of danger that I have to contend with in this joint. They talk about a cat, but he must live somewhere else because I never see him. Still, sometimes the tiny Air Suckers get a hankering for some hands-on Fishley Time and try dipping their digits in the glass castle. Jeez. What can I do, you know? I just swim like wildfire (that was my nickname in high school, btw,...Wildfire). Usually this is the time when I am most happy to see Big Beard, because Big Beard does NOT like hands in the glass castle.
  • Who Is Big Beard Anyway? 9 of 11
    Who Is Big Beard Anyway?
    He's a real mystery, that Big Beard. He shows up early in the morning and always stands there and yawns at me while he makes the brown liquid. Between you and me, before he has the brown liquid he doesn't seem all that 'with it', if you catch my fish-drift. He'll stand there staring at me and rubbing his eyes and scratching his you-know-whats and I swear, at moments like that, I am sort of fascinated, from a purely sociological perspective. But then, by afternoon, he bores me again. Oh well.
  • Read My Fish Lips! 1-800-FLOWERS! 10 of 11
    Read My Fish Lips! 1-800-FLOWERS!
    Three days ago, the tiny Air Suckers appeared outside the castle walls and I was glad to see them too. I was in the middle of one of my mad crushes for Mama Air Sucker, aka icy-veined M.I.L.S. who pays Fishley little to no mind at all. And see, I got it into my head that I would send her some nice flowers, as a way to let her know that we could move this inevitable affair along if she wanted to. So I caught the kid's little eyes and I started mouthing out the words," Help Me! Dial 1-800-Flowers for me! I will dictate the message for the card!" This lasted like 20 minutes, but they never caught on and so I got so frustrated that I went and hid under my plastic leaf.
  • The Goods 11 of 11
    The Goods
    At the end of the day, I'm happy with my family. They pay attention to me (except 'she who shall not be named') and they feed me regularly and they don't really bother me with stupid stuff like dropping bits of doughnut in my castle or taking me outside to picnic with them or anything like that. Basically, they just love me and let me be myself and when you are a fish like me and you find a bunch of Air Suckers like that, then you realize pretty quickly that your new family is The Goods. And they are. And that's that.
Article Posted 4 years Ago

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