Our Organic Fish, Couple 2: Fischer and Newman

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.–I turned the light of the fish tank on and off continuously for about 5 seconds. After practically giving both Fischer and Newman seizures, I dropped a pinch of goldfish flakes into the tank for mealtime.

My roommate looked up from her organic chemistry book and gives me a confused look.

“I’m Pavlov training our fish!” I excitedly explained.

She had no faith. Fish have a memory span of only 3 seconds, she said.

Every morning, I continued my conditioning to prove my roommate wrong. Flicker, pinch, release, watch.

We bought our second couple of fish from the same Wal-Mart in Olean, N.Y in October 2009. The cashier rung up a Black Moor Goldfish, Newman, and a small orange goldfish, Fischer.

The names of our fish reflect two different ways to draw, or project, organic molecules on paper.

Fischer Projection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer_projection

Newman Projection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newman_projection

I wanted to name one Sawhorse, but Danielle did not approve. http://www.transtutors.com/chemistry-homework-help/general-organic-chemistry/conformational-isomerism.aspx

Studying in my bed one evening, I glanced at the fish tank to escape the wrath of my chemistry flashcards before me. Fischer was lying on his side at the top of the tank unable to swim down. I worried that Newman took a bite of his tail similar to what evil Trans had previously done to his tankmate Cis.

Fischer’s tail and all fins were intact. He just could not swim to down Petri, the dinosaur, and instead floated.

A Google later, I found that fish can suffer “tenpuku,” meaning “capsized,” disease, causing him to lose control of his buoyancy. Fischer’s symptoms fit this description, so I diagnosed him as any doctor would.


We held, for the second time for a live fish, a funeral at the porcelain express.

Fischer did not live long enough to complete the conditioning, and I gave up with Newman.

Newman managed to stay alive long enough, without a fish companion, for Danielle to take him home for winter break in December.

I received a text message in January stating that Newman “turned half orange and died.”

Below explains why our black, bulging-eyed goldfish could have possibly turned orange. The death part… I would ask Danielle.


Onto fish couple number three…


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. If I find you flicking the lights in my office on and off, I’ll run …

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