Friday, October 11, 2013

What I Wrote on Genny's Wall

Since I do have to get some sleep before leaving Duke University, where I have been this week at a conference, I decided to take the easy way out and post here something I wrote on Genny's site, about which she commented on my post about panhandling. (That's not really cheating, is it?) Genny was complaining that her house was full of bugs because her son loves them, but she finds them, well, a little off-putting. What I wrote to her was the following:

My son's house is filled with bugs, like yours, because my 7-year-old grandson, Nathaniel, is fascinated with anything that flies or crawls. We think he may grow up to be an entomologist -- he knows the scientific details of hundreds more bugs than I do. For example, we were walking to a local art fair downtown (downtown being three blocks in our 6x8 block town), and I pointed out a butterfly sitting on a hedge to him. "Grandma, that's not just any butterfly," he responded. "It's a painted lady." Well, pardon me! His wish list right now is for a black widow spider -- he thinks the red hour glass is beautiful. We do have them, but I don't want to be the one to try to catch it.

Still, it is all an improvement over his little scientist father who at the age of 9 nearly burned our house down twice with his fire experiments. (1) The bathroom: he set two candles with the same amount of parafin on fire -- one short and fat, one long and lean, to see whether shape affected speed of burning; on that experiment, we lost our bathroom. (2) The roof: I caught him dropping burning objects from the roof. When confronted, he responded, "Newton said that two objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass, but if one were to be on fire, wouldn't there be thermal uplift, retarding the rate of fall?" Oh, my! We spent the next nine years, throwing out every match we found and conducting daily treasure hunts for matches.

Stick with the bugs -- they won't destroy your home! ;)

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