This is what happens when we go to Petco. This is also why I didn’t go in.
My family actually had the following conversation in the car on the way home, though names have been changed. (Regular readers will recognize SprinkleSquink as my sister)
To clarify, the ages.
(Isaiah and Faith aren’t involved, but they are 3 and 1.)
“Just look at that cat,” Daniel’s voice drips with disgust as he frowns out the window.
I follow his gaze to the giant, window-sticker cat dressed as Santa on the front of Petco.
“It’s so mad looking,” he says, “Cats pretty much never look happy.”
“That’s why I like dogs,” I point out, my eyes going over to the Santa dog in the other corner of the window. Its mouth is wide open in a doggy grin and it’s leaping forward happily.
Daniel shakes his head, “No, I don’t really like any animals.”
He raises his eyebrows and spreads his hands wide like it should have been obvious by now, “Pretty much. The ones I would like are dragons. And we don’t have those.”
“What about Bullwinkle and Ginger?” I ask.
“Well . . . dogs I can tolerate the most,” he acknowledged, “But not a lot else.”
The sliding door to the store opens and the rest of the family pours out from their trip in to get a dog bed pad. Peter and John hop in front of the rest of the group, gesturing and grinning widely at each other.
They’re obviously up to something.
“Peter wants a . . .” John blurts as soon as the door slides open.
“John!” Peter pushes past him and tries to wipe the half embarrassed grin off his face, “I think I’m gonna save up and get a sea urchin.” He chuckles to himself as he makes his way back to his seat.
“A sea urchin?!” Daniel is flabbergasted, “Why on earth would you . . .?” he turns to Mom as she slides into the driver’s seat, “Is he getting a sea urchin?”
“He has no money,” Mom says with an amused smile, setting her purse down next to her, “He can’t.”
“What about your saxophone?” asks James in alarm.
“A sea urchin would go nicely with a bass saxophone,” I say, “He should save up for both.”
Peter twists his hands around into a weird little face and grins at it, “I like the purple sea urchin. It has one pink eye and spikes all over.”
“And I want a clownfish,” adds John as we pull out, “They’re on sale for twenty dollars!”
“Twenty dollars? For a fish?” Daniel looks at him like he’s lost his mind.
“Hey, they used to be fifty,” Squink calls back, “This is cheap, compared.”
“All fish do is sit in a bowl and poop,” says Daniel, “And you get to pay for the privilege of watching it. Sea urchins would be worse. They don’t even move.”
“But they’re fun!” John protests, “And I can save enough money for one!” He turns to mom, “Please?”
“Honey, this isn’t a one time purchase. You need food and a bowl and a filter and a heater . . . ask Squink. She bought it all.”
“Yeah, but she doesn’t have it anymore,” John droops, “She just sold it all.”
“They’re so useless!” Daniel spreads his hands, “They don’t do anything and they’re just a big money suck.”
“You just hate them!” says Peter.
“Yes, in fact I do.”
“You don’t like any pets,” John points a finger at Daniel, “Unless they’re dragons or something big and destructive. You only like pets that commit death.”
“I think you mean cause death, or commit murder,” I correct him, “All animals commit death eventually.”
“Fish are super germy and they die really soon. And they’re more expensive because the Petco guys are going off of Nemo.” Squink puts in her opinion.
“And your last pet endeavor didn’t go well either,” says Mom. “You were in tears because you thought Rex was bored because all he did was sit in a box all day. A sea urchin would be a million times worse.” A smile pulls across her mouth. “Pet lizards and fish just lead generally boring lives.”
“Horrible lives,” agrees Squink.
“Maybe Rex was in introvert and he liked being alone,” I put in.
“I wonder how many lizard suicides there are each year if they lead such boring lives.” Squink giggles.
Mom laughs, “Or clownfish suicides.”
“What about sea urchin suicides?”
“How would sea urchins commit suicide?” asks Daniel, still looking skeptical, but smiling now, “They just sit there. Would they go ‘Oh, I’m gonna go commit suicide’ and just sit there thinking about it?” He screwed up his face in a tense grimace.
“Maybe they could try and eat some of their own spikes,” I do my own sea urchin impression.
“How would they manage that?” Daniel laughs.
“How do sea urchins eat, anyway?” asks Peter. “Do they shoot out their spikes or something?”
“They don’t,” says Daniel, “You have to feed them by hand.”
“No no no, wait.” I hold up a hand, “So you know how starfish let there stomach out and grab their food and suck it back in? Urchins probably do that.”
“They’d better see pretty well with that one eye,” says Squink.
“That would be nice to watch if they didn’t,” Daniel taps her shoulder and does another sea urchin impression, “They’d just fall on their face every time they tried to eat anything.”
“Hey, one eye,” I joke, “He should name it Sauron.”
“What’s that?” asks John.
“That fiery eye on Dad’s Lord of the Rings CD? That’s Sauron and he’s the bad guy.”
“No, I think I’ll name it Squilby,” grins Peter, referring to the bulge-eyed dwarf from the Peleg Chronicles. “He would be a good Squilby.”
The car slows as Mom drops her head partway down on the steering wheel, laughing helplessly.
“What?” asks Peter as we all break down into laughter, “Why are you laughing? It’s a good name.”
“Oh,” Mom gasps, “That’s perfect . . .”
“You should email that to the author,” Squink smiles back to me.
“Hey, Rosey,” John turns in his seat to face me, giggling, “What if they made a sequel to Finding Nemo and the starfish, Peach, was trying to eat something and his stomach fell out? They could call it Finding Stomach.”
I almost fell out of my seat laughing. John actually did.
Peter never got his sea urchin.
Hope you enjoyed the dose of ridiculous family humor for the day!
Please comment and tell me what you thought!