Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's your calling?

Can anyone tell me why television doesn't just fade to black during the summer months?  A gazillion stations to scan through and all my husband can find to stop on is a nature program about how scientists deal with the remains of dead whales that wash up on shore.  Is it me, or is this necessary TV viewing? Watching some female marine biologist hoist herself along the back of the hulking dead carcass with what looked similar to the pitons used by mountain climbers.  Stab. Slide. Stab. Slide.  After a little dead whale climbing, she descended to the ground only to begin slicing the thing open with what looked like a giant machete and then we got to watch gallons of blood and other bodily fluids come gushing out like an uncapped fire hydrant.  And all this activity made her happy.
Wow - I had to wonder what actually depressed her...months without anything washing up on shore would be my guess.  Makes you question your career choices.  Gee, I thought, I could have been a marine biologist and spent my days dissecting dead sea creatures.  It never occurred to me back in the day that a job like that would actually be something someone would WANT to do.  But, that's just me I guess.  If I couldn't write a feature story about it or use it to decorate my living room, it was of little interest to me.  I suppose I could write about anything as this blog proves day after day, but I'm not sure I would have much of an audience for a piece on dead whales and the people who love them.
Some guy from the Natural History Museum in Santa Barbara, California who was one of the experts on the show might have wanted to read my story, but aside from him (the guy was giddy about the research possibilities resulting from the found carcass) can't think of anyone I know off hand that would be chomping at the bit to dive into the material. (pardon the pun).
I have never been much into science - I used to have to run to the bathroom in high school biology when the bags of formaldehyde soaked dead cats came out for dissection.  I just couldn't handle the smell or the sight of those poor skinned critters.  Poking away at them with scalpels and morbid curiosity just wasn't my cup of kitty litter.  Why cats, I thought?  Wouldn't a frog or a mouse do?  I liked cats.  It was too much like slicing up my pet for the sake of scientific research - not something a 16 year old girl is much interested in unless she wears glasses with lenses the thickness of coke bottle bottoms and dreams of the project she is entering in next years science fair.  You know the one - dateless for the school dance, but straight A's on her report cards.  Sadly, that was not me.
I came across one of my high school report cards not too long ago when I was rooting through a box of old keepsakes.  It was from grade nine and the only A on the card was in Communication Arts.  Go figure! I pulled it out to show Emma how brilliant she was next to her mother and it made her feel better about her few B's on her own card when she saw what a slacker her mother was back in high school. It kind of put things in perspective for her and I was glad to be able to make her feel better by showing her I was less than the ideal academic back then.  Mind you, she now feels compelled to bring it up whenever she feels the need to remind me of my shortcomings so I may rethink that sort of honest confession next time.  Especially if she starts asking if I did drugs in the seventies.  That's a loaded one.
For the most part, I am pretty truthful with her - perhaps understating things a bit from time to time lest she think her mom was a real bad ass, but she knows me as I am now and finds it amusing that I even have a colourful past.  Some of you reading this blog were even accomplices to some of my more "adventurous" escapades - You know who you are - don't go getting all virtuous on me here!  
Hey, we had fun and we survived to tell the tales - though god only knows how we did.  Not sure I would have had as much fun as a geek.  
But who knows?  Emma has a T-shirt that says "Talk nerdy to me!" 
Maybe I missed out on a whole other way of life but at least I don't have to chop up whale blubber for a pay cheque.  
Think I'll keep my day job and leave the slicing and dicing of dead things to those who care.  And give me that damn clicker - there must be something better on HGTV.  An old episode of House & Home TV, anything but the whale lovers.

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