SSSH. I don’t really want people to know what I am about to write, but I feel compelled to confess. I did something the other night that is horrible and in drastic contradiction to the person I have thought myself to be for all these years. Really. I have always seen myself as an animal lover. I loved them all, great and small:
- I have always been careful not to step on spiders; instead, I pick them up and carry them outside. In fact, once I protected a spiders little birth sack just like in Charlotte’s Web until all the little spiders were born and moved out across the yard.
- I did not even squish the creepy looking potato bug when I was a kid and it invaded the church offices where my mom worked.
- Snakes? They are not cold and slimy—and deserve our consideration and respect. I once rescued one from a grounds keeper at work who was going to kill it. Instead, my plan was to take it home—after classes. And I never understood why my office mate got so upset when the snake escaped from the box it was in on my desk. I was pleased that it was getting its freedom back and heading home!
- My love of elephants has been mentioned before—they are just stupendous. I started wanting one as my very own when I was about five. And those sentiments still continue. I have even watched one paint a picture and helped give another one a bath.
- When I was a kid, I can distinctly remember being taught by an older sister how to cry so Mom would let us keep the cute puppy. Our ploy worked—and I have loved dogs ever since. I even contribute every year to the Humane Society.
- I have owned a range of pets over the years: frogs, a parakeet, a tarantula, a lizard, some fish, a turtle, a kangaroo rat, and—of course—the best dog in the world, Murphy. And I loved all the cats who lived with my good friends.
- I stop and help lost or hurt animals along the side of the road—and am so very distraught if I see them dead along the road.
- When I hear about animals—either pets or those from a zoo or out in the wild—somehow attacking people, my first thought is that the poor animal must’ve been provoked. Or maybe mistreated by its owners. In general, animals are good-hearted. As Mark Twain says, “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”
But the other night, I turned my back on this sense of myself as an unabashed animal lover. I took actions that were brutal and unrelenting. Given these actions, I am not certain I can retain my persona as an animal lover.
What did I do?
I killed three earwigs that had invaded my bedroom. I acted out of impulse and cold heartedly stomped them to death without even thinking. I had never seen them before, but I knew about them. My sister who lives on Oregon had told me all about them when I was a kid. She said that they liked to find small dark places to hide and were even known to lodge themselves in people’s ears What I heard, of course, was that these tiny beasts were intent on getting in your ear and boring through to your brain. They are dangerous! Although only about an inch long, I knew these were vicious, vicious creatures as soon as I saw them. And one was even on the wall near my bed! I felt remorse immediately—and then the guilt set in, necessitating this confessional.
But the more I reflect, the more I wonder what they were doing in my home anyway. I used to teach critical thinking, so I know I can ferret out some logical conclusions about all this, or at least a good rationalization* that can help me keep from seeing this deed as so dastardly. What I finally rationalized is that my actions may have saved the world. Yeah, that’s it! You see, the first concern is that I have lived in my apartment for almost ten years and have never even seen these beasts here before. So why here and why now? Where could they have come from?
The answer was obvious: These three invaders were the first troops in an attempt to take over the world. In fact, they were not even typical earwigs. Instead they were descendants of Khan’s worms from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. You may need a small digression to remember that many things from the world of Star Trek have already come into existence: little communicators you hold in your hands, flip open and then use to talk to others; extensions of the communication system via little ear pieces or pieces of jewelry; talking to computers to make them do what you want; and even artificial intelligence that could easily win at Jeopardy. So it is only logical that the Ceti Eels or worms from Ceti Alpha V could be mutated and travel through time to modern day earth in an attempt to sneak in and take over the world. Genetic engineering—that’s in Star Trek too!
Here is a clip from the movie that shows what I saved the world from. These beasts are described in The Star Trek Compendium** as “a parasite that enters its victims through the ears and then wraps around their cerebral cortex, rendering them extremely susceptible to suggestion.” And eventually gives madness, pain, agony and death to its victims, unless saved by Bones! These things sure sound like earwigs, don’t they?
You know, the more I think about it, even though I hate killing anything, I did save the planet by stomping on those three invaders. I don’t expect any medals. But I will sleep a bit better tonight, although I do need to keep vigilant in case more earwigs invade overnight. I hope you sleep well too. For now, “Live long and prosper.”
What do you think? Do you ever take action that is in opposition to who you think you are? Or what have you done recently to save the world?
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*You remember that Seinfeld episode right? The one that says no one can really survive even one day without a good rationalization. They are almost as good as chocolate—and other things!
**Can you believe I have this book? And told people I have this book?