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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Light the blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance

Experiences of our childhood colour our lives, little time bombs waiting to go off.

When I lived in South Africa as a child, a kindly neighbour noticed my interest in Chameleons. I was fascinated by their colour changes. [translation = because everything from my previous existence in England, was grey] I would park one of this leaf and watch patiently. I would remove it to an alternative venue and watch, patiently in my new technicolour world. The lady, and clearly she was one, leaned over the fence, white haired with a countenance of innocence to whisper, “you know, if you put them on something red, like a flower, they explode! You won’t ever do that though will you?” I nodded and then shook my head in agreement or possibly disagreement. I was aghast and mesmerized by the thought. Was she teasing? Do proper ladies tease? Could it possibly be true? Even at the tender age of 7, I was still too cowardly and guilt ridden, to give it a go, but the tantalizing thought has haunted me ever since.

These days, my concerns are much more down to earth.

I return from the shops. [translation = store] to find my children on self destruct. The chaos is overwhelming. [translation = never leave the house for more than 33 minutes at a time] I debate whether to unpack shopping or tidy first? Instead I consider dragging out the colouring materials, in an attempt at entertainment of children in a static manner, so that I can manovre around them.

My youngest son is already at the table, peering into the glass aquarium that houses the lizards. The aquarium is surrounded by many coloured pens, scraps of paper and scissors.

“Look! He is dah bomb! He is about to exploding!”
“Pardon! Say it again. What do you mean? Did you say explode?”
“Look at him!”
I look. I look more closely.
“He is going upsie downsie upsie downsie.”
I look. Isn’t that called breathing?
“Any minute now….boom!” he chuckles.
I yell at spouse, “did you let them watch cartoons whilst I was gone?”
“Lookie, lookie, lookie!” he continues, finger tips tapping the table.
“Did you feed him something?”
“No! He is waiting.”
“What is he waiting for?” Am I really having this conversation?

His nose is pinned to the pane. Little plumes of breath steam and disappear. I examine the lizard. He looks the picture of health to me. No signs of imminent combustion, but my knowledge of lizards is limited. Are lizards related to Chameleons? If they are related, are they first cousins or something more remote, like third cousins removed twice? Why do I not already know this?

I try again. I ask the expert. “What do you mean? What have you done to him? Why is he going to explode?”
“Lookie, lookie, lookie!” he giggles, with the hugest cheesy grin. What can he see that I can’t?

I increase volume, whilst keeping a watchful eye on the lizard and my son, “did you let them watch cartoons whilst I was gone?” I yell at spouse.

Spouse disengages himself from the computer that he is attached to, and pops his head around the door jam, “what?”
“Did you let them watch cartoons whilst I was gone?”
“Only a couple of minutes. Well, maybe half an hour or so. Perhaps a …..er……”
“What were they watching?”
“I don’t know. Cartoons. I think…that’s right……..educational cartoons.”
“Anything about lizards perchance?”
“Er…….don’t thing so.”
“Chameleons? Why Chameleons?”
“Any Animal Planet?”
“No, just cartoons, er educational ones.”
I can’t work out if it is better or worse that they haven’t been watching Animal Planet.
“What did they watch!” I squeak.
I return to the aquarium for another look. “What is that in there with him?”
“Yes, what is in there with him, that piece of paper?”
“Dat piece of paper is a rainbow for him so he can be finding dah pot of gold.”
“It is a rainbow.”
“Yes, dat is what I am saying. A rainbow will be making him happy.”
“Do you want to make him happy or do you want to make him explode?” What happens to a Chameleon if you put them on a piece of paper coloured to look like a rainbow?
“He will be happy when he explodes.”
“He will? Why would anyone be happy to explode?”
“Because when he is exploding all his babies will be coming out of his body.”
“Why do you think he is having babies?”
“Because he is dah fat tummy. Dah fat tummy is explode.”

Clearly my lecture on the subject of the birds and the bees fell on deaf ears. [translation = the lizards weren’t listening]


The Goldfish said...

I just love the kind of reasoning and imagination here. It's like some sort of wonderful creation myth, perhaps an explanation of the Big Bang; the great lizard in the sky saw a rainbow and exploded with delight, bringing about the creation of the universe. :-)

Pendullum said...

Ahhh, trying to find reason... when there was to be no reason to be had....
You made me smile...

Melissa said...

:) Exploding lizards, eh? Maybe we should report you to PETA...

Melanie said...

Great post! Made me smile.

Anonymous said...

Reminded me of an emial I got just yesterday. Sorry so long :D

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was
"something wrong" with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his Room.

"He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious dad, can You help?"

I put my best lizard-healer statement on my face and followed him into His bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do.

"Honey," I called, " come look at the lizard!"

"Oh my! Gosh," my wife diagnosed after a minute. "She's having babies."

"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"

I was equally outraged.

"Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to
Reproduce," I accused my wife.

"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she
Inquired.(I actually think she said this sarcastically!)

"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her,(in my
Most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together).

"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she
Informed me. (again with the sarcasm, you think?)

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I Shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.

"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience, I announced. "We're About to witness the miracle of birth."

"Oh, gross!" they shrieked.

"Well, isn't THAT just great! What are we going to do with a litter of
Tiny little lizard babies?" my wife wanted to know. (I really do think She was being snotty here, too. Don't you?)

We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a
Tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.

"We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted. "It's breech,"
My wife whispered, horrified.

"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.

"Okay, okay." Squeamishly , I reached in and grabbed the foot when it Next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several More times with the same results.

"Should I call 911," my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they Could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the Females in my house?)

"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly. We drove to the vet with My son holding the cage in his lap. "Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.

"I don't think lizards do Lamaze," his mother noted to him. (Women can
Be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, But this boy is of her womb, for God's sake.)

The Vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little Animal through a magnifying glass.

"What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically.

"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. And Mrs. Cameron, may I speak To you privately for a moment?"

I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.

"Oh, perfectly," the Vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labour. In Fact, that isn't EVER going to happen... Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie Is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like Most male species, they um.... um.... get excited. Just the way he did, Lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife.

"Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron."

We were silent, absorbing this.

"So Ernie's just... just... excited," my wife offered.

"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.

More silence. Then my viscous, cruel wife started to giggle. And
Giggle. And then even laugh loudly.

"What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman
I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.

Tears were now running down her face. Laughing "It's just... that...
I'm picturing you pulling on its... its... teeny little..." she gasped for
More air to bellow in laughter once more.

"That's enough," I warned. We thanked the Vet and hurriedly bundled the
Lizards and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going
To be okay.

"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me.

"Oh, you have NO idea,"

Closed mouth, my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

1 - Lizards - $140...

2 - Cage - $50...

3 - Trip to the Vet - $30...

4 - Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's winkie..... Priceless

Moral of the story - finish biology class - lizards lay eggs!!!

HomeSchooling Ologist said...


Linda said...

Now that I think about, way back when I was pregnant there were times when I felt like I was going to explode and I'm sure that I might have been happy had I actually done so!

I am wondering just what cartoons they were watching while you were out and just what sort of education they were getting, though!

Niksmom said...

OMG! I am ROFLMAO! And anonymous...THAT was priceless indeed!

Rachel said...

I am also ROFLMAO, especially at,
"He will be happy when he explodes."

EE said...

Too cute!!!

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