September 22, 2007
Bits and pieces
With-a-Why is a quiet, serious child, the youngest in a noisy, chaotic household. Most of my conversations with him take place during bits of time sandwiched between other events of the day, during those odd moments when he and I are alone together. Yesterday morning, for instance, he sat next to me in the waiting room at the orthodontist's office and read over my shoulder while I wrote a blog post on my laptop. He loves to point out typos. And we talked that afternoon on the way to his piano lesson. Here are a few topics we covered during the ten-minute drive from the junior high building to the music studio.
With-a-Why: You know that blog post you were writing at the orthodontist's this morning?
With-a-Why: Did you put it up already?
Me: Yeah. When I got home.
With-a-Why: I was thinking. You should have started out with the tips you were giving your students for the introductions, like "Be vague and general." Then people would have been like, oh, she sucks as a teacher. And then you could have said you were having them write bad introductions on purpose.
Me: Yeah, that would've been a better approach.
With-a-Why: It would've been a better introduction.
Me: You need to wash your hair tonight.
Me: So it'll be clean.
With-a-Why: Why does that matter?
Me: Because if you don't take showers and wash your hair, you'll smell.
With-a-Why: So what if I smell? It will protect me from predators.
Me: But you're a human.
Me: And humans are social beings. You live in the human world.
With-a-Why: The world doesn't belong to the humans. That's a ridiculous thing to say.
Me: Anyhow, predators use smell to find their prey. I think a strong smell would be a bad thing.
With-a-Why: What about sow bugs?
Me: Sow bugs?
With-a-Why: Or skunks. Some animals use smells to ward off predators.
Me: But humans don't.
With-a-Why: Do they dissect animals at Small Green College?
With-a-Why: Do they dissect animals?
Me: Uh, yeah. In the labs. In courses like zoology.
With-a-Why: Do they kill them or do they use animals already dead?
Me: Well, sometimes it's roadkill. Whenever my students see a dead animal on the road, they put it in their freezer.
With-a-Why: But do they buy animals to kill?
Me: Well, I think they must.
With-a-Why: We're supposed to do dissections in science next year. For eighth grade.
Me: I remember that when Red-haired College Roommate went through medical school, she had to dissect humans.
With-a-Why: That's different.
Me: What do you mean?
With-a-Why: The humans have agreed to donate their bodies.
With-a-Why: And when humans agree to donate their bodies, it doesn't happen until after they've died of something else. They don't agree to be killed.
Me: Yeah, that's true.
With-a-Why: Well, I am not going to do dissections. It's wrong.
With-a-Why: The animals didn't agree to be killed.
Me: Well, they can't make you do something you think is wrong.
Me: Just make sure you are prepared to explain why you think it's wrong.
With-a-Why: Well, it's sort of obvious.
Me: Not everyone thinks like that.
With-a-Why: Did you do a dissection?
Me: In high school, I did.
Me: The fetal pig was kind of creepy. It looked kind of human inside.
With-a-Why: Would you do one now?
Me: Well, I would with roadkill or something like that.
Me: Dissections can be fascinating.
With-a-Why: Not for the animal being dissected.
Posted by jo(e)