Traditionally it's the dad's job to kill things that need to be killed. Recently I had to put down an injured blackbird. No one else was keen. So I marched up, grabbed a brick and then froze. The poor little guy looked so sad.
It took me 10 minutes to psyche myself into putting him out of his misery.
My dad wouldn't have thought twice. If an animal needed to be put down he did it. Sadly years living in central Auckland have made me soft. I can barely kill anything any more.
When my oldest son was 2, we got him five goldfish. He named them Apple, Chocolate Mousse, Nashi, Shark Boy and Shark Girl. He spent 30 seconds watching them that day. Hasn't looked at them since.
I, on the other hand, have spent the past five years feeding them, cleaning their stinking tank and paying for their oxygen. I hate them.
Maintaining 172 litres of water for the enjoyment of fish is a thankless task. You can't stroke them, they don't purr and they won't fetch anything. I wish I had the courage to crush them in my fist. I would love to hiff them off the balcony.
If I was a good honest 80s dad those fish would've been flushed and forgotten the minute my boy turned his head. They're not even nice fish. Periodically Apple and Nashi become violently sexual and try to force themselves on Chocolate Mousse. At the end of a 60-hour work week I spend my free time building underwater chastity prisons - all to protect a fish I don't like from fish I hate.
There's no logic. I love fish burgers. I'll kill snapper on a boat. Yet I can't bring myself to finish off these ungrateful bastards. I am failing as a dad.
This week Shark Boy finally died. I was stoked. One down, four to go. But my celebrations were cut short by Apple eating his friend's corpse. What a cannibalistic a-hole.
In a fit of rage I scooped Apple up in a sieve and cranked up the waste disposal. The blades gnashed. I was ready to kill. Then once again the sad little eyes. I hesitated. In that second my 5-year-old busted me. "What are you going to do to Apple, daddy?"
Now if anything happens to the fish, I'll be the prime suspect.
I also hate our rabbits. Never get bunnies. They're cute but boring. Our kids have Furbys. How can real creatures compete with toys that can learn phrases, giggle and communicate with iPads?
Better still, you can turn them off and put them in a drawer. All Harry and Hunga do is eat, excrete and run away when you want a cuddle.
Worse than that, they've become a liability. A month ago they escaped from their hutch and now spend their time in the neighbours' yards. It's embarrassing. But you can't grab a .22 and wander around central Auckland shooting kids' pets. Even if I could I wouldn't. I've lost the killer instinct.
I am not advocating random fatherly pet destruction. You need good cause. When I was a kid my mate's old man lost a sheep to a dog attack. So he locked a bitch in his trailer and drove around the neighbourhood. When he had five dogs following he shot them and hiffed them in a skip.
None of the dead dogs were involved in the crime. I will never forget the morning after. Sad neighbours walking the streets calling out the names of their beloved pets. It scarred me for life.
My friend's dad took pet killing way too far. He was charged. The cops found some terrible stuff in his house. He was a bad man. Apple wouldn't survive a day at that house.
You are probably thinking "man up, stop writing and go kill your kid's stupid fish". Maybe I will or maybe someone reading this wants them?
They're great fish. Well looked after. Large tank. As is, where is.