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#2. I have had two non-finned pets before Susie.

I mention the fin thing only because I'm a little dubious on the status of fish as pets. I've had a few fish -- tetras and the like -- but they've always been pretty useless as pets. They only knew two tricks -- the Scatter Like Hell When the Glass Gets Tapped On routine, and the Sputter at the Top of the Tank When the Lid is Opened bit. Both of which got old after, oh, I don't know, maybe seven minutes. Now, to be fair, a few of them tried to be more entertaining. A couple even mastered the Backflip Out of the Tank and Onto the Floor maneuver, which carries an impressive degree of difficulty. On the other hand, it's not so much a 'trick', per se, as it is a 'suicude with a flourish'. Rather a one-time trick, I'm afraid, so it wasn't all that entertaining, either.

Anyway, as for the non-finned pets, the first was another dog. Sandy was a cocker spaniel that I had for a few years growing up. She was ultra-submissive, which meant that she had the charming -- and appetizing! -- habit of pissing all over the floor when she got nervous, or met a new person. Or got kicked in the ass. (I kid, I kid... we never kicked her. If for no other reason, who wants dog pee all over their shoes?) Sandy died while I was in high school, and I didn't have another pet until I was twenty-two years old.

That was a three foot long Burmese python that I bought for eighty dollars that fall. Or as I liked to call him, 'Nate the Snake'. (Yes, he was named after a character in a really bad joke. You expected Shakespeare?) I fed him extra mice from the biology lab where I worked, and we got along swimmingly for a while. Unfortunately, he had some health issues, and didn't survive our first winter together. I wrapped him in a bandana and buried him in the greenhouse attached to my lab building. It was a soothing, pleasant place, and I think he would have liked to slither among the plants and flowers there. Of course, with all the comings and goings there, someone's probably dug him up by now and moved him somewhere rather less appealing. Still, I like to think of him there, flitting among the plants and snaking his way up some gardener's leg as a prank when he gets bored. Rock on, Nate. Rock on.

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