Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ants


Hugo and I go to visit Jeff at his office. Because I like a good dose of identity crisis to start my mornings, the wife, and because Hugo ADORES it (a fridge full of string cheese! white boards and markers! Beanbag chairs! Daddy!). As H was drawing H's on the white board at the CONFERENCE TABLE where they all eat lunch, I see it, there on the table.

When Jake left we inherited his ant farm, Jeff's all.

He continues all, they like LIVE on the sugar stuff in there. They invented that stuff in, like, space.

I'm not a vegetarian. I unceremoniously fling slugs into the street to near certain death if I find them on my flowers. Yes, I am a hypocrite. But yo, it was the most pathetic thing I ever saw. A totally enclosed lucite thingy with swimming pool blue sugar crystals. Dead ants everywhere. And a few feeble live ones climbing over the dead ones, except not, because they could hardly do anything except lift their front two legs. NOT industriously digging new paths through the sugar as you might think. It made me sad.

So I go all WEIRD on them, because this is what I DO--and I'm all, you have to free those ants! How can you sit there and eat your LUNCH watching those poor animals enslaved in that thingy? And of course--OF COURSE, because this is also what I do--it sets off this BANTER where Jeff's friend is all, they get to live in FOOD, what could be better? And I'm all, that's what the slaveowners said, that they were great providers and the people were so well taken care of.

And he's all, they get to live out their natural LIVES in there. And I'm all, but what about the QUALITY of their lives, climbing over their dead friends?

It was all just so dumb. He just got smirkier and smirkier and I got more defensive about the plight of the ants. And then I launched into the story about how I was at the Jackson Lab for a genetics course and on the last day they paraded out their knockout mice like for sale or something AT A PICNIC. These poor things are just bred to get diseases and I could hardly stand it, even though I know it's all for research and etc. And my fellow non-mouse-researcher friend who is way funnier than me and could actually stand to be inside the mouse tent goes up to one cage where there is a mouse running in circles and she's all--to be FUNNY--what is that, running-in-circles mouse? And the guy is all--NOT to be funny--yes. We giggle over that one still, a million years later.

And he's all, how are the ants different from those mice? And I promise him I'm going to go home and think up an ARGUMENT for why the ants should be freed--it's about the INTENT, isn't it? Mice are put through what they are so we can hopefully cure human disease one day, right? That the ants are there to amuse bored engineers over lunch just doesn't have the same ring to it.

But at any rate I don't compose my big argument (I get distracted by grilled cheese or something), nor do I sprint out of the building with the ant farm and smash the stupid thing on a rock. And it turns out Jeff's coworker actually thinks I am odd, and not charming and witty and sparkling with intelligence as I had imagined myself to be during our banter (sparkling! I was sure of it). And so it goes, thank heavens I never became a lawyer or an animal rights activist.

18 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Maybe it's Jeff's coworker that is odd?

BarbaraCA said...

Does it help that those ants are stinging, mean ants? At all?

J and J Acres said...

hee hee. I love how you compared ants to slaves.

And obviously the coworker is the one lacking intelligence, because you just ooze it!

The Gossamer Woman said...

The co-worker has a screw loose for not caring about the ants and you were on the right track. Some guys are so dumb, they don't see injustice when it's right in front of their eyes. I say, liberate those ants.

Mac and Cheese said...

I'm with you, although I can feel sorry for a discarded grape if I let myself, so I'm not sure if you want me on your side.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Sometimes the Wife is misunderstood.

I know this well.

Mrs. G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. G. said...

I'm with you. Dead ants for amusement purposes? Ugh. And I am not a fan of the ant. We've had grave issues in the past.

JCK said...

Coworker definitely odd. Ants. Ugh. Torturing ants. Double ugh...

All Adither said...

We have this exact ant farm sitting in my son's bedroom. It did seem like a great idea. Until I realized that the only way for them to get air is to open the top, and then they all rush for freedom. They're about dead now, though when I open the top, a few still wiggle their legs.

You can't free them because they're red harvester ants and aren't native to the area.

JessTrev said...

Ugh. I have the same creeped out feeling at zoos, occasionally, although I do think they educate people and promote preservation, yada yada, and make my kids loooove animals (more). Too much one time when I was still nursing and there was a gorilla mama nursing her baby too, behind plexiglass. Yowch. I'm totally with you on the creepy blue ant farm. No redemption.

phd in yogurtry said...

I bought one of those ant (crystal meth) farms for my twins. I never did get around to buying the ants. So the ant meth lab sits on their bookshelf, uninhabited. For the past couple years I have felt guilty. Now? I feel relieved.

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