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.