Saturday, January 07, 2006

Apropos of nothing

It is time to feed the frogs again. I was thinking about this artificial food chain thing. When I went to the pet store the other day the woman at the counter had a large puffed up bag of live crickets she was securing closed for a sale. As she led me to the frogs we passed a row of other feeder animals, ones you purchase live to sustain a creature whose life you value more than its own. Even though the bloodworms aren't live, and I am not out the champion their cause, I am still not all that comfortable with the arrangement. But I do like crickets, believe it is good luck to have one singing in your home and have generally never felt wished them ill.

When I was 22 I worked weekends with a man who had MS, and was exceedingly nice even though I dropped him on the floor once and a while. My job duties included simple things, putting out a bowl of cereal, washing dishes, occasional wheelchair transfers, loading and lighting his bong, mixing drinks, and accompanying him on errands. Across the back of his motorized wheelchair we secured a board atop the arms of two stabilizer wheels. I would step on, gripping the handles and we would zoom down the street, wind in our hair blasting Jethro Tull from full sized stereo speakers strapped to the sides.

He had a medium sized Savannah Monitor that required live food twice a week. The task only fell to me once. We cruised to the mall on his wheelchair, purchased a gallon of cheap vodka and a feeder mouse. The woman at the pet store asked me if I had a color preference and I could only look at her in horror. Back at the house I was even more horrified to realize it was my job to dump it into the terrarium. Me the executioner. I opened the box and with a few hearty shakes loosed the terrified mouse onto the back of the lizard. The courtship lasted a good fifteen minutes, maybe longer; a leisure lizard hardly starving, a frantic mouse. I think if I could do it again I would hit the bell, grant that little mouse his freedom, so valiant and cunningly he avoided death. I mean, those are the rules of the real game right? Death inevitable comes to us all, but if we are wiley enough we earn a few extra sunsets in the meantime.

I am not all that happy about these microcosms, and artificial divinity. Maybe its just a random line drawn in a vast sea of sand, but I think the whole arrangement is a little creepy.

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