The Death Of Dojo

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

A young Pat Mesiti-Miller receives a pet fish named Dojo. His life is forever changed.


Now Snappers, when you were a kid, did you have a favorite pet? 'Cause if you did, you know just how special a pet can be to a youngster. SNAP JUDGMENT producer Pat Mesiti-Miller, he had a pet, right during those tender years, a youngster will never forget.

PAT MESITI-MILLER, BYLINE: When I was a little kid, I used to have a pet fish. Now I'm not talking about your little goldfish in a bowl named Bubbles or Skipper or Goldie. No. My fish was named Dojo. Dojo was an aquatic samurai, a warrior of the water world, a ninja with gills. And he was the baddest, coolest, most awesome-ist fish of them all. And when I'd get up in the morning, I'd run over to the fish tank. I'd shake in some little, fish flakes to feed him, and then I'd watch as Dojo would hide in the shadows and then strike, taking each one of the unsuspecting food flakes as his victims. One day, my dad woke me up and he was screaming and shaking me saying Pat, Pat, wake up. Wake up. Pat, wake up. And I popped up out of bed all scared and startled saying, what? What's going on? What? What? And my dad looks at me, and he says, Pat, the dojo, your fish, he's dead.

What? He's dead? Yeah. I don't know what to tell you, but I went over to his tank this morning and he was dead. Sorry, son. And then he left the room. I was crushed, devastated. And I started crying, saying no. Oh my Dojo. No. Dojo, you died. My sidekick, my man, my favorite friend was gone, never to fight another day. So I got out of bed, mustered up enough will just to barely drag my sad little feet out to the kitchen for breakfast and I sat down and started poking at the Eggo. I couldn't eat. The syrup soaking into it till it was soggy. My mom looks at me and says, Pat, what's the matter? You look so sad. What's going on? And I'd tell her, Mom, you didn't hear? The Dojo - Dojo is dead. And she does, what? And my mom looks at my dad like, he died? And then my dad kicks in, oh yeah, April fools. What? I didn't even really know what that meant - April fools. So they broke it down like, it's a day where you can lie and pull pranks on people. And then you say April fools and everything goes back to normal. Yeah April fools, son.

Your Dojo's not dead. It was a joke. I go, well, that's not funny. That's mean. And my mom says, yeah, honey, that's mean. So my Dojo isn't dead? No, no. He's fine. Go look for yourself. I wiped the tears from my eyes and ran over to the tank as fast as I could. And there was my Dojo darting around the tank like he always did. Hey, Dojo. I knew you wouldn't die on me. And I went outside to play, and after a few hours, I came back in to say hi to Dojo. I got up to the tank, I looked in and dojo wasn't swimming. He was floating belly up at the surface. Dojo was dead, like, for real. No April fools. No joke. Dojo had actually died. I don't know what kind of sick coincidence that was, but when I saw that he was dead, I couldn't cry anymore. I was already cried out. So I left the tank and walked over to my dad, and said hey, Dad, Dojo is dead. Ha ha, good one, son. I already got you with that. April fools, right? No, Dad. Dojo really died. I would never joke about Dojo.

WASHINGTON: Big thanks to Pat Mesiti-Miller for that piece. And fear not, Pat, 'cause I know the spirit of the Dojo is strong in you. Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.