And so it came to pass that Bumpy, First Fish of the Cmar-Burns household, was found dead today.
He was 4(ish).
Bumpy deserves note and remembrance for several reasons.
He served as a co-Chief Resident at the Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital Program in Internal Medicine for two years, from summer 2003 to summer 2005. Well, inasmuch as a goldfish can actually do such a thing… although he did guard the door to the Chief’s office, and act as a convenient conversation piece, during that time. Purchased by the Chiefs prior to my tenure (and almost slain by them accidentally during a water change, when very hot water was added to the cool tank one day, causing him to swim sideways in wide circles for about 6 hours), Bumpy was an excellent companion to Jennifer and myself during our year in charge. When I discovered that our successors had no interest in caring for him when we were gone, Bumpy came home with me. And oh, what changes he wraught!
The short version is that we decided Bumpy needed a better tank once he arrived at the Cmar-Burns hovel… and “roommates”… and “greenery”… and “furniture”… and with disconcerting swiftness, Laura and I found ourselves with yet another hobby, and a few more pets. Bumpy leaves us with two large freshwater tanks stocked with various fish, two smaller betta tanks, and with more knowledge of aquariums than I ever knew I wanted.
Bumpy wasn’t the smartest of fish – as Laura relates in her blog post, he once swam into a castle in his tank, couldn’t figure out how to back out, and almost got his head stuck poking out a hole in the highest parapet. This was made worse by the fact that he was of the pop-eyed variety of goldfish, and almost managed to squeeze both eyes through the hole, which would have been a nigh-impossible predicament to extract him from. Stupidity aside, he was actually able to recognize me from other people, and would always swim up to me when I came near the tank, doing his peculiar “water-waddle” that very likely was his way of saying “Food! Food! Food!”
I’m actually surprised at his relative longevity, giving the degree of mis-handling he put up with from his previous caretakers, his own dull-wittedness, and a couple of um… accidents… on my part over the years. The most interesting of those involved a scoopful of dark-roast coffee falling into his filter, which slowly turned his water a lovely brown as it unintentially “brewed” his home. This led to a mad scramble on my part to set him up in a rescue tank, and a very hyper fish for the next day or so. In the last few months, he had a couple of sizable tumors crop up on his dorsal fin and behind his left eye, but fortunately never showed any signs of pain or impairment.
Sad to say, I realized in writing this that I don’t even have a picture of him – we recently recieved an excellent new digital camera for Christmas, which even has an underwater mode, but chose not to take any images of him due to the progression of his tumors. Laura managed to find an older picture of him from her mobile phone camera, and put it up on her site.
Fare thee well, Bumpy my friend – you will be missed.