My daughter brought two goldfish home from a school giveaway (BTW, thanks a ton, whoever’s brilliant idea that was to give away “free” goldfish).

The sad part is, I had a goldfish that was several years old and looking like he might not make it much longer when these two new ones arrived. I was SO looking forward to no more tank cleaning, fish feeding, filter buying and dirty fish water siphoning.

Sure enough, Golder died just a few weeks later and I could have been FISH FREE! But no. Some nitwit decides to give away goldfish as a prize, and now I got two brand new ones, both babies so they will live many, many long years.

Some of you are probably saying, “What’s the big deal? Make the kids take care of the fish.” That would be fine if I wanted a fish tank where you couldn’t even see the fish. Around this house, the new wears off real quick. The kids “forget” to feed, water, or clean up after their pets. I do it because I feel sorry for the poor innocent things that are at our complete mercy and will die a pitiful death of neglect without me.

So guess who’s been caring for these two additions for the last five years?

Lately I’ve noticed that one fish is a total bully. He’s twice as big as the other one, but I just thought it was because he had a hearty appetite. I usually sprinkle the food in and walk away, but I decided to observe them for a few minutes. The big goldfish opened his mouth enough to suck in a big flake. While he was “chewing” it, he swam around tormenting the other fish. Then he stopped and sucked in another flake, and then chased the second fish some more.

“You’re a jerk,” I said to the bully. He looked me right in the eye and spit the big flake straight at me. If we had been in the old west, we would have squared off in the middle of the road with our fingers twitching over our pistols.

We stared at each other until I finally looked away. He grabbed a new flake and chewed it like a plug of tobacco while he chased the smaller fish around. These two have names but I can’t remember them. Let’s call the big one A-hole and the little one Sweetie Pie. A-hole came over and started snapping at me. That’s what he does when he wants more food. He goes up to the surface and smacks at the water. It makes enough noise to get you to look. When you do, he starts swimming frantically around and doing these aggressive wiggles back and forth. It’s very intimidating. You can practically hear him shouting, “Get me some food, bitch, or this water won’t be the only thing I’m smackin’!”

But something inside of me snapped when I saw him tormenting poor little Sweetie Pie again. I was madder than a wet hornet, but what was I gonna do about it? How could I bully a bully fish?

I decided I needed to show him what it was like to be pushed around. I put my hand in the water and chased HIM. He didn’t like it, not one single bit. Bullies are always such sissies. He darted here and there trying to execute evasive fish maneuvers. I chased him around a little more until I thought he’d learned his lesson. He seemed pretty humbled, but a few minutes later he was nosing into Sweetie Pie. So I chased him again. The third time was the charm. After that he kept his distance.

I wish I could say this story has a happy ending, but alas it didn’t take A-hole long to revert to his old tricks. I put my hand back in the tank and chased him once more, and he behaved for a little while, but then he went back to being a bully.

You’re probably thinking, “Why not just flush him?” Oh, I couldn’t do that! But I don’t let him intimidate ME anymore. He may push that other fish around, but he’s not going to get away with doing that to me. No sir. When he smacks that water, I don’t come running anymore. Not as fast, anyway.