Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stalking the Elephrich

The cold has been hanging on for a week and a half and today I had to go in extra early for morning playground duty. Mint tea, cold medicine, hanging my head.

The first children tell me that a snake was seen on the premises and a few of the children who have decided that I am cool follow me around as I watch the playground and the large grassy area where the children congregate in cliques, some of them throwing a football around.

A boy tells me that his daddy found some young copperheads and is keeping the snakes around. Much discussion of snakes, poisonous and non-poisonous. A girl changes the subject to rabbits and the different kinds of rabbits she keeps. I ask her if she has seen any poisonous rabbits near her home.

"Poisonous rabbits?" she asks. "There is no such thing."

"No such thing! Haven't you ever seen a rattle-rabbit?"

"A rattle-rabbit?"

"Absolutely. Great big fluffy rattle on them. They are cute, but deadly if cornered."

"Oh, you. There is no such thing."

"Fine. If you approach a big cute bunny and hear a warning rattle, don't say I didn't tell you."

She looks at me uncertainly and says, "Well, we can settle this. I have my book."

She produces from her backpack a book of animals. She flips around and finds the section on rodents. Triumphantly, she informs me there is no entry for rattle-rabbits or any poisonous bunnies.

Snorting in derision, I say, "That book is incomplete. I suppose they don't even have a listing for the Elephrich!"

Long look of suspicion from the growing ring of children. "An Elephrich?"

I sigh. "Don't they teach you anything in science? The Elephrich is related to the ostrich. It has thin legs, but it is 20 feet high and needs a trunk for drinking water. Stupid looking bird, really. It digs a massive hole in the ground and buries its head out of embarrassment."

Now the children know they are being put on. We move on swiftly to the dental needs of killer whales, and the plight of the killer whale's orthodontist.

Suddenly the bell rings and off they go to homeroom.

1 comment:

your mother said...

Just to remind you - until you were three we had you convinced that you had a tail.