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Thanks For Sharing Your Godparents’ Legacy With Us!

, , , , , , , | Related | April 18, 2022

My sister and I share godparents — a married couple who are old friends of my parents. Officially, the guy is my sister’s godparent and the wife is mine, but unofficially, we share!

I am six years old, my sister is eight, and my mum has just had her third child, our baby brother. Realising that she is in need of some peace and quiet, my godparents take my sister and me to an aquarium somewhere for the day.

We spend the day looking at all the different fish and some small sharks, and we eventually end up in the gift shop. I find a rubber bouncy ball I absolutely have to have; it’s half-blue, half-clear, with three small plastic dolphins positioned to look as though they’re jumping out of the blue half. Six-year-old me thinks it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and I read the price tag, knowing my mum gave me a small amount of money to spend on the trip. However, being six, I also can’t resist the pick and mix stand! I put a small amount of candy in the paper bag and notice that they don’t have a scale out to measure how much it will be (and it’s priced by weight).

When I get to the till, the lady scans my sweets and ball and tells me the total. Whilst my weight estimation for the sweets turns out to be very accurate, I have misread the price tag for the ball and am £1 short. I begin to have what I think was my first ever panic attack. Being six years old, short of money, without my mum, and very scared of being thrown in retail jail — and completely unaware that I am fully allowed to just put the sweets back! — I am a few seconds short of either hyperventilating or crying or both.

Out of nowhere, my godmother appears by my side and senses the situation. She wordlessly reaches into her pocket and slides a £1 coin across the counter to the saleswoman. I say thank you (A LOT) but she brushes it off as no big deal. It was a huge deal; I needed a mum and she stepped right in.

She died recently (she had kidney failure my whole life), and only after speaking to some people did I find out that she did the same thing on a much larger scale for my University graduation. Knowing that my best friend, who lived over 150 miles away, couldn’t afford the hotel or travel, my lovely godparents picked her up, drove the entire way, and paid for her hotel room just so that they could all see me graduate.

She was utterly selfless, and I miss her endlessly.

Aquariums Make Me Crabby

, , , , | Related | February 27, 2022

I was at an aquarium one time with my two daughters when they were toddlers. I saw a tank that was labelled “King Crabs,” and there was this big, ugly, gnarly, and leggy-looking thing staring back at me. The tank was set into the wall, so this big guy was at eye level with me. I was feeling slightly unnerved at the size of this thing.

Three-Year-Old: “Oh, look, Mummy! There’s his mama.”

She pointed behind the crab that I was looking at, and there behind it was the biggest monster I had ever seen! I screamed and dragged the kids away from the tank.

Yes, the huge King Crab I had been looking at was the baby! Mama scared the bejesus out of me, and I have stayed clear of aquariums ever since. And of course, my girls, now grown up, like to remind me of the time I got the s*** scared out of me by a mama crab.

The Clones Have Come Home To Roost

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2021

The small aquarium I volunteer at is celebrating its one-year anniversary of being open. This coincides perfectly with the new release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” As such, the managers have decided to invite several people to dress up in character and hang around the aquarium. This draws in huge crowds, and while it’s fun for the guests, it’s making it hard for the employees/volunteers to get anything done.

I’m racing to deliver more birdseed to the aviary when I round the corner and find a full battalion of Clone Troopers in the 501st armor colors. The one dressed as Captain Rex stops me.

Captain Rex: “What is that?”

Me: “Birdseed? I really need to get through.”

Captain Rex: “You may pass.”

I delivered the birdseed but had several more run-ins with the Clones, as well as Darth Vader himself.

That Kid Doesn’t Miss Shark Week

, , , , | Right | May 5, 2021

I am enthusiastic about fish and sharks, and I volunteer at a small aquarium that features local ocean species. The center exhibit contains very small sharks, hardly longer than a foot, with lithe bodies and brown patterns.

Visitor reactions vary. Some can get as close as “sand shark” or “dogfish.” Kids often run in shouting, “Tiger shark!” or else ignore them, thinking they aren’t sharks at all. Adults sometimes are fooled, too, and I have heard them more than once identified as, of all things, eels. I love the reactions when I tell them those really are sharks. Their small size doesn’t help much, as it means having to listen to parents singing Baby Shark until I inform them and their kids that these are adult sharks.

Imagine my surprise when a little boy, maybe six or seven tops, ran in and shouted, “CHAIN CATSHARK!”

To this day, that was the only time I didn’t have to inform a visitor of what species they were looking at. I hadn’t even heard of the species myself before volunteering there, and I’m obsessed. And yet, this boy had. His parents explained that he just loved sharks. I was proud.

Something Fishy About Those Two…

, , , , , | Right | November 24, 2020

I work at an aquarium taking photos. My section is situated at the end of the first section after going through one set of exhibits. A couple approaches me.

Guest: “Where is the entrance?”

I notice that they haven’t checked in as their tickets clearly haven’t been ripped.

Me: “The entrance is where you entered the building.”

Guest: “Where is the aquarium?”

Me: “You are in the aquarium; this whole building is the aquarium.”

Guest: “Where do we get our tickets checked?”

Me: “At the front desk, where you entered from.”

Guest: “Okay, thanks.”

They leave towards the entrance to get checked in.

I am left thinking, “How can you not notice all the tanks filled with dozens of fish and not think you are in the aquarium?”