Invisible Fish. Parent Lied. Fat Albert.

Three experiences came out of my visit to the Dragon City pet store yesterday. You should know, the pet store is the only thing that connects the following thoughts…

This is an African Glass Cat.

It’s freakin’ almost invisible!

The Glass Cat was’s fish of the month in February of 1997 (catfish are apparently important enough to have a planet and a URL, who knew?). Here’s what they have to say about said fish: “True glass catfish are completely transparent. If you look at one through a magnifying glass you can see the heart beating within the silver reflective sac that houses all the fishes organs. [snip] This is not your average catfish. Indeed, one of the most interesting (probably because unexplained) aspects of this odd fish is that almost immediately following death, the fish loses its transparency becoming milky white. This suggests that something Glass Catfish do while alive produces or maintains the transparent effect.”

Whoa, so what the heck are we doing wasting our time splicing salmon genes into tomatoes? Forget the weirdo frankenfood, this fish is totally James Bond. We need to immediately put a halt to the fruitless labour of our greatest minds, you know the ones working on the optical camouflage cloaks and the like, and start funding genetic research into the African Glass Cat.

Imagine how exciting home life would be with an invisible cat? Or how satisfying it would be to serve invisible turkey to friends? Oh the fun we’d all have…

A few moments before discovering the Glass Cat, I was checking out Dragon City’s dozens of budgies housed in impossibly small cages and a memory surfaced from when I was about 8 years old. Back then my family lived in a building for retired folks, my dad managed the property and because of that we lived in one of the apartments. I remember one of the ladies in the building wanted to give me her talking budgie, “Jamie” was his name. I was really excited and prepared for my duties as Jamie’s primary caretaker.

And then came the news that Jamie was dead. Just like that. Flew into some glass and broke his neck. Dead.

After the crying and devastation, I got over it. As an adult remembering that incident, I suspect its validity. You see, couple Jamie’s alleged demise with the fact that I also remember at age five my mom telling me my goldfish had just drowned… And I remember asking myself, “Can Fish Drown?” Well, maybe you see a pattern developing too.

Bless my mom’s soul. I’m certain she just could not bear witness to another poor animal’s painful existence under my dreadful care. But it doesn’t change the feeling you get the precise moment you realise your parent lied to you. Twenty years ago or not, good intentions or not, that little lie of convenience is like the longest burn in history and you can’t help feel a little embarrassed. And amused respect for your parent. Kind of. A little bit.

If you live in Toronto and need a little pick me up – visit Dragon City Mall at Spadina & Dundas and check out this pet store in the basement. Of course look for the Glass Cats, but also look for a tank that says something like “Nothing in this tank is for sale” – I think the tank is shaped like an octagon, it stands vertically and it’s off to the right side of the fish tanks. Just look for it. Anyways, inside this tank with nothing for sale you’ll find an albino water frog named Fat Albert. This frog will remind you that the universe is friendly. I promise, You can’t help but smile and be happy once you set eyes on Fat Albert.

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One Response to “Invisible Fish. Parent Lied. Fat Albert.”

  1. Jen Brown says:

    Thanks for triggering some nice pet thoughts…I also have several childhood pet memories of my awesome cat, Jeremy. A constant torture for poor Jer was me trying to “walk” him on a leash I devised from a bathrobe belt (dragging him, more like.) He was a big bruiser who lived outside in a Cat House built by my dad. He had been de-clawed in the front, but amazingly still managed to climb trees using nothing but sheer speed and literally ran up the tree propelled by back legs only. He regularly got in fights with dogs and usually won. He had been hit by cars about 3 times and still lived…he was the king of cats. Long may he reign in cat heaven.