It’s funny the kinds of things kids bring home from school.
Sure, you get the standard stuff like the day’s take of drawings and paintings. Sometimes you’ll find another child’s pen or brush or stuffed animal. And believe me, your typical five-year-old comes home daily with all manner of new and interesting germs to infect your upper respiratory system.
But on this particular day in early June, I was a bit surprised to see this particular five-year-old bring home a small plastic ziplock baggie from school. It was smaller than sandwich size, about the size some of you would use to carry your "herb" on your way to one of your hippie drum circles.
But there wasn't any Aunt Mary in the baggie (dammit!). Rather, the sole contents consisted of about the first four inches of a snake.
No, not that kind of snake. I'm talking about the kind that crawl around on their bellies scaring the crap out of people.
Still not right. Think of the same level of creepiness but more natural. You know, the kind of snake that eats rodents and air travelers.
That's right. Except luckily, the snake we're talking about wasn't that big or poisonous.
It was a small grass snake, the head and about three and a half inches of snake jerky apparently chopped off of the rest of the reptile by a lawn mower blade.
I didn't get a photograph (I know you're bummed), but here's an artist's rendering:
Those of you who have been parents for a while know that now is the time when you have to put up a calm front to avoid freaking out the kid while you wonder if you have a budding Ozzy Osbourne on your hands.
"Hey, whatcha got in the bag?" I asked.
"I found it at school! I'm the only one who got one," came the excited reply. "I found it in the grass in the play area and my teachers said I could bring it home."
Ah, gotta love those teachers.
"So, what are you going to do with it," I asked, totally not concerned in the least.
"I'm going to cut it open to see what's on the inside. Can you help me?"
"I, uh, well, er..."
"I'll need some of those plastic gloves. You know? Those gloves? Do we have any of those gloves? We'll need them before we cut it open. And we should probably wear mask over our mouths, too."
She was very mater of fact and clinical about the whole idea. She was eager and curious to see the actual interior workings of your every day, garden variety grass snake.
Unfortunately, the baggie with snake therein found it's way to the trash can before we could acquire the instruments necessary for the postmortem.
She was, of course, disappointed. She really wanted to see the inside of the snake. But the disappointment was soon overcome by the next episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, and anyway we were having quesadillas for dinner which is one of her favorite meals.
Still, my Supermodel Wife and I had debated whether our daughter was too young to see the Bodies Revealed exhibition at Union Station and decided that she probably was. Now, maybe it's time to revisit that debate.
tagged: snake, Aunt Mary, postmortem, science, nature, curiosity, Bodies Revealed, Ozzy Osbourne