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January 31st, 2011

official memoirs

I served twice as the official volunteer fish-feeder. I say "official", though the position involved no sinecure, seal, or dignity of position. This was in the era before electronic mail. I believe that electronic mail permits the announcement of such unpaid titles and unnecessary conference calls like nobody's business.
Yet despite the relative informality of my position, I believe that I could indeed be called the offical volunteer fish feeder in both my seventh and ten grade years.

My seventh grade science teacher, Mrs. Welch, kept a ten-gallon guppy tank. Like any good guppy tank, the guppies lived a profuse and rich existence, filled with flake food, other guppies, and a rather motley assortment of colors, transferred from generation to generation. A small set of white cloud mountain fish
also lived in the tank. These white cloud mountain fish somehow contrived to reproduce, though how in a tank full of rapacious guppies their eggs and fry survived I will never know. I developed from keeping that tank
a deep love of guppies and their ways.

My tenth grade teacher, Mrs. Slayton, kept a battery of tanks. Mrs. Slayton won some award along the lines of statewide science teacher of the year around the time I took her biology class. Her class involved not only the usual array of dissection, difficult to pronounce biological functions and deep examinations, but also making collections of insects, butterflies, leaves, seed pods and flowers. Her tanks varied from native fish to oscars to various small tropicals. I remember that one fish was considered so apt to eat its tankmates that
only the tiny but fierce tiger barb could be kept in its tank. I've always wondered why tiger barbs could survive carnivorous fish while other similar sized fish are eaten.

I still experience a sense of gratitude that I was permitted to be the guy who fed the fish.