M. Giant's
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Monday, October 18, 2010  

Well Preserved

A couple of weeks ago, M. Edium had his school pictures at kindergarten. He insisted on wearing a white shirt and tie for the photo. Since he goes to afternoon kindergarten, and eats lunch at Montessori, we thought it best if one of us went to his school and helped him change after lunch. That way, we thought, maybe the short would still be mostly white by the time the photo was taken.

He also needed help with his tie, even though he thought he had it under control, buttoning his shirt save the top two buttons and then hanging the clip-on tie from the third button. Obviously I made him promise to have someone help him with his tie when it was time to take the photo. And even so, we may find ourselves looking forward to retakes of him in a simple t-shirt.

But that wasn't the scariest part. Not even close.

When I got there, he was carrying around a catalog that his teacher, Mr. N. had received. He wouldn't let go of it, so all I could see was that he was showing me photos of lizards, frogs, crickets, and other uncuddly animals. And he was asking if we could get some of them.

I was distracted with the task at hand as it was, so all I really said was no, we have enough pets as it is, we really don't need any more. Then M. Edium said something that I was certain I heard wrong, but he was still excited about the catalog. His teacher, Mr. N. had told him he could take it home.

While M. Edium and I were waiting for the kindergarten bus to show up, Mr. N. talked about the catalog as well. He explained how M. Edium was always picking it up to look at, and Mr. N. had finally said he could take it home. There wasn't anything in it he wanted, after all. But then Mr. N.'s Sri Lankan accent became a little difficult to follow, because I knew I was hearing him wrong as well.

Finally M. Edium released his death grip on the catalog long enough for me to finally get a look at the cover, and the two words that sent a chill up my spine:

"Preserved Specimens."

So when I thought M. Edium had responded to my protests against getting another pet, I had correctly heard him saying, "No, they're dead." And Mr. N. had been talking about things being shipped in a vacuum seal that you don't want to open before you're ready.

As I paged through this chamber or horrors in full-color print, I realized that maybe the lizards and frogs were sort of cuddly after all. At least in comparison to such items as the skinned cats, beef eyes, and pail o'fetal pigs.

Now that I realized what I was looking at, I told M. Edium no even more emphatically than I already had been, which was pretty emphatic.

When it was time to pick him up from kindergarten, my mind hadn't changed. But neither had his. The whole way to the car, he kept saying, "We need to go on the dot com and order them. We need to type it in and it'll come. Come on, dad. Come on, dad. Come on!"

And I kept saying, "No. No. No."

But somehow, I don't know how, on the way home he came up with the angle that would win over his mom, to whom I hadn't even bothered to mention this. He said to her:

"But you never say no to science!"

Long story short, soon we'll be expecting some ten eighteen-inch earthworms and a frog.

Why not just dig up some worms from the yard, you ask? Because M. Edium doesn't want to kill anything. Even the worms he finds on our property are his friends, with names and everything. Their names are all Wormy, but that's hardly relevant. These worms are fine to dissect, because they're already dead. In fact, they died peacefully, in an earthworm hospice, where caring and attentive nurses helped ease the transition from worm to worm food.

The only thing is, they have to be delivered to the school where the biology product catalog was sent. We'll have to pick them up, but I say it serves Mr. N. right.

posted by M. Giant 11:19 AM 1 comments

1 Comments:

So hang on a minute here: you actually intend to do at-home dissections of these specimens?

*shudder* I can't even bear to be a part of the annual pumpkin-guts scooping that takes place before jack 'o' lantern carving. I also couldn't stand the formaldehyde-y smell that accompanied our rats, pigs, cats and frogs back in high school bio. Hopefully at least these "preserved" specimens are fresher smelling. I mean, they've got to have come up with a nicer smelling way to preserve things in the past 20-mumble years, right?

Please promise you'll post pictures when the time comes!

By Blogger Heather, at October 18, 2010 at 4:07 PM  

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