Lum: Once an adult, twice a child |

Lum: Once an adult, twice a child

Su Lum

Lillian, William, Carson, Lucy, Caroline, Diego, Mckenzie, Jacob and Natalie are waiting for me in Tank 6, so I can’t spend a lot of time dallying over this column — first things first and my fish will be starving.

Altogether I have nine tanks, and I’ll tell you, it’s no small job taking care of them. The fish get hungry every five minutes and the tanks get dirty and have to be sponged clean, and meanwhile, I have to keep playing a game over and over to make money to buy more tanks and fishies and decorations like the old car half buried in the sand — its lights go on if you click on it — and the pirate skeleton that lifts its pirate hat.

I have turtles and sea horses in all of the tanks — I had to get up all the way up to level 45 to be able to buy them, but they were worth the wait. The sea turtle is my favorite; sometimes he says, “I’m in charge now,” when I log off or go to tend to a different tank.

Overall I have 12 turtles, seven boys and five girls. I could have picked all their names but I let the computer do it — that way I have no personal attachment the way I would if I named a fish or a turtle after an old lover or an enemy or something. There are no turtles in Tank 1 because it is filled with 12 fish already and that’s the max. I could sell one of the fish to make room for a turtle but hey, who would I sacrifice?

I get up in the morning and have nine tanks to clean and I don’t know how many fish to feed. Some tanks have nine, some have six, one has eight and Tank 1 has 12 — I’m too busy to do the math, I’ll just say there are a lot of fish (and turtles and sea horses).

What makes it all worthwhile is that they are so delighted to see me. They come rushing when I shake the food packet, swirling around saying things like, “Hello, Su, we’ve been waiting for you,” and, “We’re really lonely without you — don’t go away again.” I’d have to leave town for a week to get that kind of a greeting from my dachshunds, Nicky and Freddie.

Puddles of muck have to be wiped off with the sponge, a task made less onerous because they are all so grateful. “Su, I can see you — I can’t believe it!” “Where did the dirt go?”

The game I have to play to keep earning money is one of those “match three” games like Candy Crush, where you rid the board of symbols by getting three in a row and can bomb even more off the board by getting six in a row. There are many variations so it doesn’t get boring. I’ve gotten pretty good at it and usually get a silver bonus; a few times I’ve even received the gold bonus.

This is the game within the game — the whole game is called “Fishdom 3.”

So the routine is feed the fish (“Su, that was delicious!”), clean the tank, play the game and go to the next tank. By the time I’ve finished the round, the fish in the first tank are ravenous and their tank is murky.

When we were kids we used to sing a song about three little fishies in an itty bitty pool who swam swam swam right over the dam. We loved that — feeling very bold to be able to say “damn” in a secret way. Damn and hell were the only four-letter cuss words we knew.

Well I’ve got to go tend to Tank 6 now, because Emily, Gabriel, Adrian, Destiny, Dylan and Sophie are waiting anxiously in Tank 7 — I’ll see you when I come up for air.

Su Lum is a longtime local who doesn’t know when to stop. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at