Please, Think of the Children

Over a distance, a forced grunt carried on the wind. A small boy, just on the verge of leaving the toddler years, pulled his grandparents toward the sound. Excitement and wonder emblazoned on his face as he rounded the corner and entered my line of sight. I saw him and smiled. I knew this was coming, the tourists always come flocking to the very audible grunts issuing from a large centrally located pen. Some well traveled patrons, perhaps they have been to enough zoos to have heard this noise before or perhaps they have seen the many videos circulating on the internet, start to slowly shuffle on to other exhibits.

“Look Grammy! They are playing wrestle!”

The startled grandma’s eyebrows began to crawl up her forehead as her mouth hung open, lost for words. Grandpa chuckled. Baffled on how to explain why a tortoise the size of an overturned wheel barrow was vigorously thrusting and explosively grunting while on top of a tortoise of similar size, they graciously accepted the “wrestling” illusion. While standing aside from this spectacle, usually stooped to pick up the large and surprisingly pungent turds left behind from these horn dogs, I tried not to make eye contact with the visitors. As much as I do love to talk about sex in the animal kingdom to anyone who will listen, I rarely had time to engage in it the way I would have liked. If you are going to ask me a question that widespread society deems embarrassing, you had better be prepared to leave with a little flush to your face because I take great pride in my abilities to embarrass, especially in public.

More often than not, the modest folks who hid behind the lies (these are designed to be palatable and thus ease the guilt of possibly contributing to their children smoking pot, naked in some patch of undeveloped wood at an earlier age then college) had their illusions shattered by the progressive family that decided to take up residence at the bare patch of fence within ear shot. According to the modest, if you don’t talk about sex, it won’t happen! Imagine their discomfort when the children mere feet away were receiving a NFL style play by play commentary.

“That is the penis, oh look, it is kinda like a human penis! See how he is putting it in the girl? That is how he puts sperm in her and the sperm fertilizes the eggs. Then she lays the eggs in a nest and protects them until they hatch into baby turtles!”

The mom was so excited at witnessing this magical act of life and so damned proud of her brazen explanation of it. Look at those little yuppie children, eyes a glow, as if they could imagine the babies hatching out right before their eyes and scurrying around, miniatures of the adults. Her explanation would have been good, except that they are tortoises, not turtles. Yes, there is a difference and…

“When will the babies hatch?”

The children let out excited gasps, perhaps hoping for a date that they could return and witness the saga.

“They won’t.”

A crushing blow. Excitement and pride was quickly replaced with anger.

“You crush the eggs don’t you? So you won’t have anymore.”

Educating the public on the cruel realities of the world, of life, is truly my calling and indeed my passion. No matter if the facts are vibrant and wonderful or grim and depressing, it is information. Humanity can only benefit when they open their mind to receive more information about the world around them. Or at least that is how I justify the thrill of delivering potentially “bad” news.

“No ma’am. We don’t crush the eggs, in fact you can see some babies in our show! These in here… are all males.”

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I Love You… But..

“We should move to Australia. I have friends there, we could get jobs working with the local wildlife. That would be awesome, lets do it!”

My eyes scanned his face honing in on every single muscle. Marking twitches, tugs, pulls, crinkles, and sometimes tiny beads of sweat. To describe me as analytical would be a severe understatement.

A tiny “tut’ escaped as he opened his mouth to speak. The words didn’t come and as if his lips had been onstage when they missed their line his bottom one slowly drew behind a dropped curtain of teeth. A faint “ssss” was being sucked inward with a slightly creased brow. He was thinking hard. If his glasses didn’t make his eyes appear so small I might have seen gears grinding fast and hard through the pupils. His cheek muscles were practicing potential answers before they were conjured into an actual statement. The wrong words could have turned the situation bad, fast.

Unfortunately, this is how life with me can be. Radical extremes swinging from glum outlooks, where life itself is a chore, to outlandish schemes, where nothing is impossible and the only thing stopping anything from happening is constricted thinking and…

“That sounds so awesome and I think it would be a lot of fun! But I am pretty sure that Australia is more than 50 miles radius from Liam’s dad. That might not work out, you know?”

Oh right. Responsibility. It is like that enormous rain cloud that would completely ruin your day if it didn’t mean the end of a drought and food shortage. I would be sure to add “moving to Australia” to the growing list of “cant’s” that I have dumped into my phone. It is likely that it would alphabetically shift itself to before “selling custom dog collars on the internet” but after “moving to Africa to teach children English and join the ivory task force.”

In my world, there is no good and bad in the traditional sense. Clinically, I am characterized by frequent extremes. To me, there are many complex layers that interlock and it isn’t so much from one extreme to the other as it is varying degrees of the speed that it takes thoughts to enter and leave my brain. It is a give and take. In a “good” mood, the ideas stick around a lot longer than when I am in a “bad” mood. However, the periods of good moods can be just as bad, if not worse, than the bad moods.

“Why? Why is the bank account empty? Why did you buy fistfuls of art markers and 6 pads of paper? Where did these canvas’ come from?”

I am in a great mood. An excellent mood in fact. The world has a lot of drama to sort out and that is why I was put on this Earth. For up to 4 glorious weeks at a time I can become a machine of unparalleled productivity. Which can also be both confusing and horrifying to Tyler. During these times, there are many “what’s”, “no’s” and what seems like an endless stream of “why’s?” Why did I buy $30 worth of 75 cent movies? How did you spend 6 hours in Target and still forget the only thing we needed, the toilet paper? Should you really be agreeing to that commission when you have 6 laying out on the table? Did I miss something, you drove to Miami and back while I was at work? Why is the fridge full of cream cheese?

These questions, often more closely qualified as statements, are peppered with many a “I love you” and “you know I would do anything to keep you happy.” However, they are often followed with the qualifier “but.” Faced with these conversations, I find it extremely difficult to focus. I stare dead into his forest green eyes with every intention of listening. I do after all love him more than any other human being with the exception of Liam and that of course, goes without saying. Listening to his words should be natural and effortless. Time to give it all I have.

“Would you like me to start writing lists down in your phone to help you remember?” Phones are curious objects. I wonder if one day they will embed phones into our bodies so we don’t have to carry them around anymore. That would be nice considering my last phone fell out of the laundry basket and shattered right where I put my ear. I am such a cheap bastard. I put electrical tape over the ear piece to keep glass shards from collecting in my ear canal. That worked well until Tyler washed it, well, that depends on who you ask. The epic battle over whose fault it was never had a clear victor but it did underscore how dependent I had become on my shiny little smart phone. Implants would be a good idea if they ever figure out if they give you cancer or not. How would you dial them? It would need to be somewhere with an easily controlled muscle structure so you could dial numbers.

“Are you even here? I just asked you if you think it would be a good idea to rocket squirrels into space and you didn’t even flinch.”

The green circles of iris come back into focus. They are narrowed, an effect further accented by the creases radiating out of either side of his face. I can’t help but wonder if I caused those creases. They certainly weren’t there when we met.

“Well I don’t know about shooting squirrels into space but do you think they will implant cell phones into our asses to make dialing easier? Or do you think the possibility of shart-dialing would turnoff a potential market?”