There’s a little kid at the preschool who reminds me of Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, or maybe you’d know him as Data if you’re more of a Goonies fan.
Having recently turned four, he’s a bit younger than Short Round was in his movies. The kid is small and skinny with messy hair and he’s super serious and really, really smart. He’s absolutely fascinated by insects and spends the majority of his time out on the playground squatting on his haunches digging in the dirt. Sometimes another kid will run over to him and help him out, but usually he’s by himself and he seems perfectly content that way.
I’m kind of in love with the kid.
Out on the playground on Tuesday he had me enthralled for quite some time. I was sitting on a bench and he was standing in front of me telling me all the stuff he knew. He’d say, “Um…excuse me…excuse me…you want to know something?”
And then he’d say something like, “Most spiders have eight eyes, but some have no eyes, and some have even more than eight eyes. And they have fangs and mandibles.”
And then he’d proceed to tell me what mandibles were. He talked to me about millipedes and how earthworms eat and poo dirt and how ants can carry things 5,000 times heavier than they are. And the whole time he was either pacing in front of me, or he’d be standing in front of me with his head cocked a little bit to the side looking off in to the distance and I could tell he was just thinking really, really hard about something. When he was talking he’d get so excited and talk so fast that he’d get out of breath but he still wouldn’t stop talking because he just had SO much stuff to tell me. If another child came up to say something to me, or required my attention for a minute, the little guy would wait patiently. But a few times, if I was distracted for too long, he’d cup his little hand against my cheek and turn my face back to him.
And then he’d say again…”Um….excuse me…excuse me…you want to know something? The scorpion has an abdomen and a cephalothorax.”
I’m pretty sure he said the word cephalothorax correctly too.
I tried to trick him. I asked him if he knew what a vinegaroon was.
I was nineteen before I ever knew that demon bug existed. Walking down some stone steps outside an apartment building in El Paso I saw movement in the shadows at the side of a step. When I stopped and bent down to see what it was I was pretty positive I had just discovered a new species and needed to call the Entomological Society of America to tell them of my findings or maybe alert NASA to let them know I had found something non-terrestrial. But then my boyfriend at the time came out side and with barely a glance he said, “Oh, yeah, that’s a vinegaroon.”
Secretly I was pretty sure it was just the baby stage of what would someday be a giant predatorial alien.
They don’t have vinegaroons in New Zealand so I was pretty sure I was going to stump this little kid. But he just stood there with a furrowed brow for about ten seconds, his head tilted to the side, mentally rifling through his folders of information.
And then he said, “A vinegaroon is like a scorpion but with no stinger. And it has big pincers in the front. But it can’t hurt you. It only sprays out something smelly when it gets scared.”
Later I Googled vinegaroon to see if he was right. He was. Except that they don’t spray a smelly liquid, they secrete it, and then use that whip tail thing to pick it up and throw it at their enemies. But I’ll let that slide.
After about thirty minutes, that little walking encyclopedia of entomology went wandering off. I was kind of sad. But then a few minutes later he came back with two sticks and said, “Want to dig for worms with me?”
I did. I really, really did. So I said, “Dude, I totally want to dig for worms with you.”
And for the first time ever I saw him smile and it absolutely melted my heart.
And you know one of the things I like about being a teacher that I kind of forgot about? The ability to do things that are fun but not really acceptable for adults to do….like digging for worms. In the adult world, if someone walked up to me and I was kneeling in the dirt with a stick and they asked what I was doing and I said, “Digging for worms!” they would probably question our relationship because they know I’m not a fisherman and looking for worms in the dirt is a pretty weird thing to be doing. But if you’ve got a little kid next to you, digging for worms is perfectly acceptable.
And it was fun.
I also learned from another kid what a hippopapus is.
Do you know what a hippopapus is? No?
It’s an idea that can be tested by science.
The first week was a success. I especially like that I will always have Fridays off, and every other Monday. It’s pretty sweet.
Alright, I gotta go read articles on how to increase traffic on my blog page through self-promotion on social media. I hate doing it…the self-promotion that is. Every time that I’m posting something somewhere which is essentially saying, “Read my blog!”, I feel like I’m the little nerd going up to a group of kids and saying, “Want to be my friend?” It makes me feel really vulnerable and when I don’t get a response from doing something I get kind of sad.
For example, before starting today’s post I put a picture of a squirrel holding a bazooka on Instagram in order to promote my blog post The Great Squirrel War of 1918 and it’s only gotten five likes.
Tom is going to go crazy with all the “why don’t they like me?!” whininess he’s going to have to deal with later.
This is kind of what I feel like……
“Hey, guys, hey…wanna play with me? Wanna read my blog? Wanna be my friend?”
Ugh. I’m getting neurotic.
And now I’m thinking about how cute lemurs are.
Like the little dude in this video…
WARNING…mute it before you listen, the music is TERRIBLE.
I’m in a weird mood today…kind of grumpy. So make me feel better by telling people about my blog and increasing my readership.
Or you can send me lemurs…don’t forget to poke air holes.
Although I think lemurs may be illegal here so if you don’t feel like sending me contraband there’s also a Tupac of socks….
That would pretty much just make my whole month.
Peace out, gangstas.