Swimming Upside Down

I walked past the kids’ goldfish bowl a couple weeks ago and saw our pet fish, Goldie, floating belly up. As we all know, floating belly up is “I’m dead” in the international language of fish. But the odd thing was, Goldie appeared alive. I tapped the glass and she flipped over to swim away.

Afraid poor Goldie was on her last fin, I started to keep a closer eye on her. While losing a goldfish is not in the same zone as losing a dog, any death in our house is taken a bit seriously.

Besides, I don’t know what to do with her corpse and needed time to research various fish funereal options.

Every day, I see Goldie floating belly up. Every day, I tap the glass and she flips over. She disturbs guest and small children. She seems to embarrass Hawkeye—her bowl mate—who turns away from her antics.

And still, she doesn’t die.

It’s not that I want her to die. I just want her to behave as a proper goldfish should behave.

Finally, Joseph caught on to her belly up antics.

“Mama! Goldie is trying to play dead.”

“It appears so.”

He frowned at the bowl. “She’s not very good at it.”


In the meantime, I nod my head with Hawkeye looks at me with his wide fish eyes and agree with his silent assessment that Goldie isn’t really all there. And I keep hoping the kids aren’t the ones who discover Goldie when she stops pretending and starts getting real.

Any ideas why this fish is belly up and still breathing?