Category Archives: The Way We Used to Be

Survival of the Fittest or Bust!


Lots of things have died in my house.  I think plants traumatize me, because they don’t make it past the third day.  Fish usually end up expiring in about a week. Pets have not been allowed to enter in the past, because as a child, I didn’t have much experience taking care of one.  Most of ours remained outside.

As much as I can recall, we are responsible for the deaths of several of God’s creatures.  Butterflies have turned into butter and have never flown.  Tadpoles never knew they were born to be frogs.  Lizards’ tails were chopped off just to see how much they would wiggle before stopping.  The class rabbit was sent home with me and luckily he was returned.  If he had been there more than a day there would have been a funeral for sure.  My sister had a few rabbits at one time, and I can’t recall where she got them, but I do recall her running some bath water for them in a #2 metal tub, dumping them in, and watching the poor creatures shiver because she didn’t know that rabbits bathed themselves.  I can’t tell you that they didn’t survive because you might find that cruel; let’s just say their future was very dim from that point forward.

Ironically, if a bug or insect was connected to a grade, I was vigilant with its protection.  After all, their survival was key to receiving an A in the class, and nobody messed with my GPA.

We had a science fair that was coming up, and for the life of me, I could not think of anything to do.  My brilliant teacher came up with the idea for me to study the eating pattern of an insect.  That night, instead of an insect, I trapped a cockroach (one of the most vile creatures God ever created), and put it into a jar.  I already knew that I would probably have to watch more than one, because this one might not have survived the experiment. I knew for sure he wouldn’t make it to the day of the Science Fair. The good thing was that cockroaches are in abundant numbers on an island; I just stayed away from the ones that flew.

For days, I fed the cockroach little bits and pieces of food from breadcrumbs to small fragments of peanuts, to cheese, to leaves to dead ants.  Those darn cannibals ate everything!!!  It was the first time I held any interest in keeping any crature alive for more than a few days.  I think it was at that time that I felt I could graduate to bigger things.  I was determined to catch a bird when I got the courage.  It was not until college, however, that a few friends and I drove across the border into Mexico, and on our way back home, purchased a bird for $5. We attempted to smuggle the bird back with us in his jacket and were successful.  It was not until a few days later that the poor feathered friend met his fate at the hands of my friend. I figured he had it comin’ since the friend was in my company.  Dang! Another one bit the dust!  It was probably a good thing the bird passed quietly. In hindsight, we thought about the amount of diseases that bird might have carried for the low price of five bucks. Idiots! (We didn’t have our degrees yet, so our ignorance was still forgivable!)

Today, I am proud to announce that my children and I have kept our family dog for three years. I think the curse has finally been broken.  (It could also be due in part to her name being Chance. Lucky for her!  LOL!) 

Laugh, people. It’s good for the soul!