Don’t you love when all the different aspects of your life show off their hidden harmony, and synchronized coincidences link up into recurring themes? Someone I met named Cornflower called this ‘being on time,’ as in, I may be late to work because I was in the aquarium store, but I was perfectly on schedule to get take notes on life’s lessons. Tonight’s post’s coincidence is only the entertaining kind, not the life-changing kind, but it makes a nice way to tell you about the book I’m reading and what I did on the Day I Did Not Knit.


Here’s a book I chose from the library completely on a whim, thinking the topic, “life and lessons at the world’s premier school for exotic animal trainers” would be both interesting and benign enough to make a satisfying read. Sure enough, the great details of the students acting more like donkeys than the hoofstock, and the number of times I’ve had to go to Google Images for cute pictures of animals I’d never heard of have made for an entertaining book that continues my trend of reading non-fiction books on unexpected subjects. However, Amy Sutherland falls into the rut I’ve noticed in many well-researched non-fiction books, in which the juicy details stop just short of compensating for the less-than-compelling style of the prose.

In Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, the juicy details illustrate the age-old issue of what happens when humans interact with the rest of the animal kingdom. Lately my living room has been an investigation of the same question. A crowd gathered for Roman-amphitheater-style viewing of the feeding of the ball python, which went horribly awry. My cat likes to sit near the fishtank I started recently, but not because she is hunting them. I think she just likes the togetherness– what else could convince her to leave the sunny spots by the windows? So she and I sit with the fish together, she napping contentedly and I contentedly watching the goings-on behind the glass.

Imagine my dismay, then, when one of my Harlequins showed swimming difficulties this morning, and even the alarming tendency to turn upside down in the water! The water sample I brought to the great people at my fish store revealed that the only probable explanation is that his fin damage is a cause, not a symptom of his swimming difficulties, and that he’s being beaten up by the bigger fish! His tail is looking ragged and injured, and he can’t swim well enough to eat. David at the fish store recommended that I bring him back to the store for rehabilitation, and that perhaps if I add a few more of these little fish, they can be more of a school and have better natural defenses. So, after worrying all day whether or not he would be alive when I got home (he was), I netted him back into a fish store bag for protection from the bully red minors overnight and for transport tomorrow.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t name any fish until well after the water chemistry is established and stabilized and the risk of sudden fish death is decreased. But in the event that this little guy doesn’t survive his convalescene at the fish store, or worse, the night, I figure he deserves the best memorial my broken digital camera and I can muster. So, without further ado or unecessary sentimentality, is Tuffy.