When I was little, I went to go play at my friend John’s house. I don’t think I hung out with John very much because I have very few memories of him (not sure if it’s John or Jon actually, but we’ll go with John). We spent much of our time attempting to craft longbows out of random sticks we found (sticks which were not, I should add, well-suited to becoming longbows). That evening, when my mom came to pick me up, my brother was in tow. He made a very peculiar pronouncement:
“I have an angel fist!”
Back when he was very young, my brother had some speech problems and didn’t always say words correctly. You’d never know it now (these days I’m the one who stumbles over words), but at the time we would occasionally find a word that didn’t quite come out the way it was meant to. As a kid, I wasn’t always resilient to this circumstance.
Assuming that an angel fist was some sort of weapon, I countered with “well, I made a bow and arrows!”
(I hadn’t actually made arrows, but that weapon was always called a “bow and arrows” when I was a kid, probably to differentiate it from the bō staff popularized by one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.)
I further informed him that I could, should I so desire, use my bow to shoot his angel fist. At this he started crying, and told mom that I was going to shoot his angel fist with an arrow. She told me that wasn’t appropriate, and I confessed I wasn’t sure what an angel fist was but I sure wasn’t going to face it unarmed.
At this my mom laughed and cleared up the confusion: he was saying “angel fish,” not “angel fist.”
After promising that I would not shoot his fish with my bow (a promise quite easy to keep on account of the bow’s general nonfunctionality), I was introduced to my brother’s fish: a smallish angel fish named Fifi. I have no idea why he named it Fifi, but naming things is not always the forte of small children.
I have no idea why that particular night resulted in my brother getting a fish for a pet (my guess is that my dad had found a used aquarium somewhere and wanted to make use of it, but I don’t really recall), but once he had one, I of course had to have one too. So off to the pet store we went, and I picked up a fish called a gourami, which I named Donatello (after the aforementioned Ninja Turtle). My brother also got a second angel fish, which he named Finny.
(Writing this, it seems odd that my brother would get a second fish, since throughout our childhood my parents always tried to treat us as fairly and equally as possible. Either the matter was explained to my satisfaction and I just forgot, or I just didn’t care that my brother had two fish so long as we both were equal in the matter of being fish owners.)
These fish lasted a fair long while, at least to my memory, though I strongly suspect that their lives were neither as long nor as full as they would have been in a more natural habitat (i.e. not in an aquarium cared for by two well-intentioned but busy adults and two very young children).
I do know that by the time they drifted off this mortal coil and were consigned to their final resting place in the municipal sewer system, there was no particular clamor to get more fish.