I know a man who keeps an ocelot
and I have seen Mistinguette with a sheep on a leash, but if ‘The Aquarium’ really wants to steal into my heart, it will have to stop referring to fish as ‘pets’. No fish ever gave the alarm in a burning building by barking or played with a ball of yarn on the hearth. The most you can say for the fish is he has a certain icy composure and austere dignity, unlike those who have to take care of him. Of the several hundred letters which have appeared in the question-and-answer department of ‘The Aquarium’ over a period of three years, not one has ever come from a fish. You don’t catch him beefing about conditions to the editor or wringing his fins and wallowing in self-pity. Your true aquarist, however, emerges in the magazine as a febrile amateur, a bundle of nervous tics, and a pretty contemptible proposition. Let an unforseen bubble burst in his tank and he flees to the ‘Correspondence’ column to snuffle weakly and babble out his horrible blunders.
The Most of S.J Perelman (Methuen 2110) p. 60