Some while ago — BC (before Covid) — we spent most of our summers in the Adirondacks at our beloved Nest. Our sons built this ‘chalet’ over 25 years ago, with the help of many others. For all of that time we had a tank of tropical fish. It provided entertainment for the grandchildren and tranquillity for the elderly.
Arranging for the fish to be fed while we were away was a hassle. I did not trust the white chunks of long lasting food to give them what they needed and tended to rely on neighbours to feed them when they came to water the plants. Eventually, the neighbours also disappeared during the summer and I had to find another solution. About 10 years ago I decided to join the modern era and googled ‘automatic fish feeder’. Lo and behold a reasonably priced one turned up. I ordered it and assumed it was coming from Amazon. It arrived on time, but when I tried to install the battery I was stumped. Most of the instructions were in an oriental language and the drawings were of no help. I decided a call to Amazon would be of little assistance and, instead, foolishly perhaps, sent an email to the vendor.
I was astonished when, within a week, I received a detailed reply with excellent drawings and complete explanations. I installed the battery and all was well. As time went on, however, I became less adept at filling the container with fish food. I simply couldn’t align the container with the motor. Each filling meant hours of frustration. I usually succeeded, but recently on two occasions disaster struck. Though I thought the pieces were aligned, they came apart when I accidentally tapped the unit while it was mounted on the tank. All the food then dropped into the water. The fish were happy but their master — me — was most unhappy. The spill required that I immediately grab a fishnet and scoop out as much food as I could before it was rapidly sank to the bottom of the tank.
After the last such incident I decided it was time to buy a better, preferably simpler, and less expensive feeder. Before I got around to exploring the options on the web, it suddenly dawned on me that it could be years before Covid would permit us to cross the border again. That meant we would not be spending any length of time at the Nest or any other foreign destination. Hence, there was no need for an automatic fish feeder. I simply had to remember to feed them by hand as I had done in the pre-bC past.
This discovery convinced me beyond any possible doubt, that I still have a few good marbles left. Feeding fish by hand may not be the most noteworthy intellectual accomplishment of the decade, but for me it ranks right up there with discovering two black holes colliding — or whatever it is that such holes enjoy doing. And my fish are happy to be fed in person, so to speak.