“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon.” - Dr. Seuss
by Chason Gordon
- The Capitol Hill Times -
Well, this is the end of an era. The ponds at Volunteer Park have been home to koi for about seven years, but because of diseased waterfowl droppings, acts of vandalism and people feeding koi things that they totally shouldn’t eat (I was scooping in peanut butter), the koi had to be moved to a place where they won’t be suffocated with our love. According to Seattle Parks and Recreation, it is no longer cost-effective to maintain the cleanliness of the ponds, which, despite all of the previously mentioned malfeasance, have seen the koi population grow (maybe the koi like it dirty?).
Moving day is always tough for fish, because of the water thing. They’re forced at net-point to gather their belongings, which, unlike what’s allowed on flights, can only be in liquid-form, meaning that treasure chests, spacemen and castles must be left behind. At Volunteer Park on Wednesday, the 30 or so elusive koi were eventually scooped into nets and frozen in suspended animation, so future generations who weren’t so careless could watch over them. That’s clearly a lie. The koi are actually being quarantined for the winter until the Washington Koi Association finds them new homes (oh, koi get an association, but I try to start a dung beetle association and no one joins).
What exactly are koi? How are they different from a microwave? Well, koi were originally bred for color from common carp in Japan in the 1800s. “Koi” is a Japanese word that simply means “carp,” though what we refer to as koi are called “nishikigoi” in Japan, meaning “brocaded carp.” You can look up the meaning of “brocaded” yourself. I think it means that someone was made to look more like a bro. “You better get brocaded if you want to get laid this semester,” college students often say.
People frequently confuse koi for goldfish. If you mistake a koi for a goldfish, the koi will get angry and yell, “Do I look like a fucking goldfish, you goddamn racist?!?” It’s a common mistake, and very understandable since goldfish and koi were both bred from carp. So, to help you avoid embarrassing yourself in front of a school of koi, allow me to outline the primary differences.
Goldfish tend to be a little smaller and less colorful than koi, and have a greater variety of shapes. Koi also have barbels sticking out, a whisker-like protuberance that makes kissing difficult. If you’re about to flush it down the toilet, it’s a goldfish (since koi are bigger and much more expensive, they tend to avoid this fate). Koi like “Star Trek,” goldfish prefer “Star Wars.” Neither can drive a manual car, but koi are more likely to give you a lift, because they’re better friends. I hope that helped, and if a goldfish is reading this right now and wants to keep pretending to be a koi, all the power to you. Remember, species is just a state of mind (it’s not, but whatever).
Though the koi at the Japanese Garden pond are staying (it’s a bigger pond and has a recirculation filter system that keeps it clean), I will be sad to see these koi go. Many a day I’d sit by the koi and tell them my problems, never feeling judged or scolded like I do with goldfish. They were so beautiful, so pleasant, though I wouldn’t let one borrow money or stay in my apartment.
Now that they’re gone, the lily pads, frogs and goldfish will likely take over, erasing all memory of the kois’ existence. And, perhaps, I might take this as an opportunity to fill the pond will my collection of Dalmatian dragon starfish, if no one minds. But for now, let us remember the koi, and wish them a safe journey. Here’s looking at you, koi. Here’s looking at you.
One last thing: if the ponds in Capitol Hill aren’t safe for koi, what the hell are we doing here?