We sell fish TVs where I work. These are basically wooden cases that have cut-out openings in the front, so that when you set your fish bowl inside, it looks like you're watching your fish in a TV. A few weeks ago, we decided to display one of these on the front counter with a real betta fish inside. That's when we adopted Bernard.
Bernard's name has a rather complex history. I wanted a B name because he was a betta. Then I purposely picked out a blue betta so that there would be even more B alliteration. Finally, we found "Bernard" in our index of name cards, and noticed that it also meant "brave." Thus, our new fish became Bernard the Brave Blue Betta.
At first, I had doubts about the moniker we'd chosen for our mascot-fish. Bernard did not seem very brave, or even very outgoing. He spent most of his time slumped toward the bottom of his tank, faintly flapping his fins. One night, when the store was very quiet, my boss Denise honestly thought Bernard had died. But no, he was merely taking a nap. He was still a likable little fish; he had a kind of easy grace about him.
|This was one of Bernard's more social moments.|
Denise announced the addition of Bernard to our store family by posting this message on our Facebook:
I want to introduce the newest toy specialist - Bernard the Brave! Bernard will not acknowledge your presence unless you bang on the counter. Bernard will NEVER walk around the store or demonstrate products. So Bernard will never get paid except in small crumbs of food… Come and welcome Bernard to our family!
Then one night, when he had barely been with us a week, while the store was dark and deserted, Bernard surprised us all. In an uncharacteristic burst of activity, he leapt out of his fish TV. This tiny, lethargic fish somehow managed to propel himself several inches into the air and clear the top of his bowl entirely. Perhaps he was trying to catch a gnat flying overhead. Maybe he wanted to know what adventures awaited him out there in the big, wide world.
I was out of town visiting family when Bernard's tragedy struck. Denise sent me the following Facebook message to break the news:
Bernard the Brave Blue Betta has released himself from the bondage of his tank in a TV! But alas, he forgot to take his water with him. He made it a courageous few inches before collapsing under the weight of his decision. I am sorry for the loss of our friend but respect his decision to live and die on his own terms. RIP Bernard. 08-09-2011
Rest in peace, Bernard. You were brave after all… just not very good at planning.