Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jobs For The LAD

I can't take a lot of credit for being much of an activist. I clean the beach, I re-use bath-water to flush toilets (1 bath = 1 day's full flushes), I strung solar Christmas lights all over the house and USE them at night (we're always festive). I don't fish unless I really, really want some fish. I forward petitions (slacktivism).

But occasionally I do something I'm proud of. Not always the first time; in junior high, when presented with a preserved frog, my lab partner and I dutifully picked it apart. The lab teacher forgot to crack the windows and we ended up so high on the fumes we took up the empty skin in the clamps and waved it around like a flag, giggling like idiots, until the teacher put us outside in the hall and told us to breathe and calm down.

In high school, I was offered a live frog to kill and dissect. That was different. I couldn't do anything for the preserved frog, but I also couldn't see the point of killing ostensibly to teach brainless children what insides look like, a goal as easily fulfilled by a diagram as the death of an animal, and probably a wild-caught one at that. I wasn't that bright, but I'd figured that out.

I stared at the frog, and when my lab teacher asked me why I hadn't begun the killing process, out of my mouth came the voice of the Little Activist Demon who lives inside me (somewhere in the greater intestine, I fear): "Why don't we kill and dissect you?"

The LAD has no sense of context or decorum. Once again, I was in the principal's office. Once again, my mother got a phone call about her troubled and troublesome offspring.

I should point out that I was raised by an Irish/German grizzly bear. I do remember the principal's tone of stern righteousness turning to confusion. I didn't hear what Mom said, but I imagine it was something like: "Well, she's right. Why would you make her kill something for a lesson?"

That's it. It's my MOTHER's fault. I wonder if they're still using nature as a resource industry to teach kids that animals are objects. Somebody's always announcing that Our Schools Are Failing Our Children. If the job of the schools was to teach disinterested sadism, they were doing their job.


Miss Jane A. Barcroft said...

For this alone I love you.

Gaby said...

It's marvelous that your mom stood up for you.
At my school they used the already "pickled" animals. we had a fish and a poultry once. Never the need to kill a living thing. That doesn't teach you anything.