November 29, 2009

The Robot and the Fish

Anyone who knows me (which is anyone who does) will tell you that I hover on the Cliff of Silly. It's a ledge where I've pulled up a sleeping bag next to the roaring fire of ridiculousness and made myself at home. Marshmallows can be roasted on the flames of my insanity. But I digress...

I have been known (by those who know me) to assign personalities to inanimate objects. I just think the spatula should enjoy being a microphone and yes, my pencil rolls off the table of its own volition. It likes the ride.

Above we have Mr. Miagi, a red Japanese fighting fish who, by virtue of his breed's quirks (do fish have breeds?) had to live in his tank all alone. Oh, he amused himself by playing in the bubble stream and could eat like a starved child at a free ice cream buffet. And certainly he paid attention to the office staff (he was employed as a mascot) when we lifted his lid. He had no opinions on proprietary matters, but nonetheless, he was quite a hit with visitors. And then the office lights were shut off because five o'clock had come and it was time for the human types to race back to their own tanks.

I like to think that, on those lonely nights and lonelier weekends (three-day weekends must have sucked), he wasn't entirely alone. You see, I'd given him Robby.

Robby doesn't actually work as I'm told he once did. If you're older than me (for which I offer apologies and Depends) you may remember Robby Robot, who ate your dimes and never pooped them out. He was a mechanical bank and, sadly, mine has retired from active duty. So I put him in charge of Fish-Sitting, a job for which an immobile item has, in fact, little choice. I like to think that, on those lonely nights and lonelier weekends (four-day weekends must have blown), Robby would provide Miagi the audience he craved.

Unlikely friends from whom we may learn a lesson. The first is that granting sentience to playthings is a good way to score eye rolls from others. The second is that we should be so undiscerning in our quest for friends. Grudges, prejudices and wars all spring from a narrow view of differences; fish and robot could have fought over the value of plastic over flesh and vice versa. But Miagi just swam and Robby just watched.

Now that Mr. Miagi has gone on to that great tank in the sky (or under that tiny bush by the warehouse) I find Robby's permanently downcast eyes rather indicative of his emotional state. No one else sees this, naturally, but we should all have such good friends.

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