Well, another Holiday Season nears, and maybe this is the year you'll receive the gift that you always wanted! Now, this IS a year like no other, and our attention should be focused on family, safety, and the joy of having important people in our lives.
Nonetheless, it IS the holiday season, and for many, that still means the upholding of holiday traditions. Case in point, the gifts! Yes, it's important to be grateful and thankful for the generosity of others. However, if we can't look at things a bit more whimsically once in a while, life could get kind of..boring.
So, yeah, the tradition of giving and receiving gifts is pretty cool.
Well, maybe not always.
Huh? What do you mean?
Think about it for a second. For the popular fish geek, the Holiday Season is actually a virtual "minefield" fought with danger! Seriously! The most wonderful- and potentially problematic- time of year, huh?
Maybe, just maybe, someone you know decided to get you a fish for the Holiday. On the surface, this is a really nice gesture- a thoughtful idea for the fish geek in the household. Only problem is, usually the person buying the gift is NOT a fish geek, and typically has no clue about what's involved in stocking and maintaining a fish tank.
"Your Uncle and I know you love the fishes, and this one reminded us of the ones you see when you swim in the ocean!"
What this means to you is that , despite the fact that your collection consists entirely of rare Apistos, is that you're now the proud owner of a young Asian Arowanna, a potentially huge knife fish, or worse! Or, your docile Pencilfish species tank now has to host a baby Tiger Datnoid ("The guy at the store said he was super chill...")! Or, the off-brand, "imported" combination lighted electric siphon hose/algae scrubber device (that's not UL-approved, of course) will now forever be a part of your equipment collection...Or maybe you received a pair of Albino Oscars for a "gift" (yeah, it happened to me once)!
You get the picture. I think most hobbyists will agree that, with very few notable exceptions, a "gift" of a fish is like the ultimate "nightmare scenario!"
"He's so cute, and he's eating pellets!" (image by H, Zell, used under CC BY-SA 3.0)
Goofy socks and sweaters are starting to look way more attractive now, huh?
The issue of "appropriateness" of a gift can really come into play in our highly specific hobby, can't it?
"That plant would look so nice in your African Cichlid tank, so we just had to get it for you!"
Much like the fruitcake of holiday legend, there must have been that one fish-related gift you received- a fish, plant, coral, or piece of "equipment"- that totally came from left field, and, despite the best intentions of the giver, turned into a pretty serious headache for you.
I mean, you have to balance gratitude with practicality, huh?
"I got it on e-Bay for you...It's gonna really help you do that stuff you do with your tank- and it works in European and Asian electrical outlets, too!"
That's why a lot of hobbyists are very specific in their 'wish lists"- not our of a lack of gratitude, but out of rational necessity! Yet, "stuff" still happens at holiday time, doesn't it. What did you do the last time one of these "gifts" graced your holiday?
Did you end up keeping the "fishy fruitcake", or did you somehow manage to trade it back for some Green Neons and 4 packs of frozen food? And, if you did- how did you manage that feat? The fish world needs to know!
Or, did this gift somehow work out and turn into something that you actually kept and enjoyed?
I'd love to hear your "...gift that keeps on giving" stories!
Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay good-natured. Stay grateful. Stay generous. Stay excited. Stay merry...
And Stay Wet!