Meet Haribo the marimo ball. Haribo is an adorable, creature-like algae ball with a velvety texture and a bouncy disposition. He keeps me company at work and is home to Aiko, his sole tenant, who occupies her time critiquing my designs and offering unsolicited fashion advice.
Haribo and Aiko arrived over the holidays along with several other pairs as a gift to my coworkers. Inspired to resolve an ongoing debate about what would make a better desk pet – beta fish or hermit crabs (the answer is neither) – I decided to offer up a more neutral and less smelly alternative.
Putting together the bowls was a breeze. I picked up the marimo balls, inexpensive fish bowls, and rocks from a local pet store. For the tenants, I found packages of assorted scale people at Dick Blick Art. I glued them to small nails and stuck them into each ball (ouch, I know, but they seem unfazed). As a final touch, I used glass etching to add the Bing logo to the bowl.
Now that we’ve had them for a couple months, I can say that they are not only super easy to care for (change the water once a week is all) but they are also a lot of fun. All the marimos have names and tales. There’s even been talk of a Twitter handle or Tumblr to capture all the stories that come from these fuzzy little guys. The nicest thing of all, for me at least, is the ritual of caring for Haribo and Aiko. Sometimes the team cleans our bowls together and sometimes not. But either way, the ritual of caring for another living thing, especially at work where it can feel sterile and impersonal, turns out to be a small but significant act that reminds me of life’s little joys.