This weekend my husband decided that he no longer wanted our 55-gallon aquarium, an aquarium he’s had since the 90s when his neighbor couldn’t pay him back the 50 bucks he owed and so he gave him this glass behemoth. And by 90s, I mean 1890s when people shirked their debts and paid their tabs at The General Store with oxen trades and the 200 pounds of buffalo they were able to shoot outside their wagons when they weren’t dying of dysentery or being bitten by snakes.
I placed an ad for the 55-gallon aquarium plus supplies and one tiny eight-inch bala shark on the free section of craigslist at 6 PM and by the next morning I had to pull the ad because I had 150 responses. It was like a cross-section of America but from the dumb section of this country. Perhaps if you had asked many of the people who emailed me to also explain Marie Antoinette, I’m sure they would kill the cigarette on their boot heels before responding, “Was there something about cake? I remember cake being involved.”
I’m sure that they weren’t all monkeys on typewriters, but the emails I received didn’t give me a good feeling about the ability of the common man to type an email. First, the majority of the replies had only one line: “Is this still available?” I didn’t answer to any of these because if I posted it and you can still read the ad, then yes, it’s available.
I also deleted emails where there was a high chance of flaking, like emails from women saying they’ll arrange it with their husbands. I have no problem when a man and a woman who love each other very much decide that they will bring an enormous glass box into their lives, but I know what would likely happen is the husband or wife saying, the eff we need an aquarium! You can’t even take care of our Netflix subscription! And then I’m left eating popcorn, waiting for no-shows and wondering what I did with my life.
And by far the dumbest of the emails I received were from people who asked me more information about aquariums or bala sharks. Hello? Are you contacting me through the internet? How about you use the platform through which you are writing me and answer your own question? Then cut off your internet service until you realize that this information superhighway is a gift that you do not appreciate yet.
But I contacted the first person who had a grammatically-correct, well-put together reply who promptly came to my house with a friend and loaded the aquarium into his truck. He said that he had two young kids and knew they would love an addition to their family. And just like that, this aquarium that my husband has owned, one of the few remnants of his P.M. (Pre-Mona) years, was finally gone. I like to think that it’s no longer some deadbeat neighbor’s loan paid in kind, but now a great magical ecosystem for a family that deserves it very much.