Two days until ADVENTURES! I’m getting totally antsy. Well, I’ve BEEN antsy. I’m getting antsy-ER. Also, guess what time I have to get up on Saturday. No, seriously, guess. FOUR A.M. I know! That is a real time! That people get out of warm beds! To DO things! I have to be at the train station at 6. I think that’s overkill since the train doesn’t leave until 7 or something but what if I didn’t show up when they told me to and they didn’t let me go? I WOULD BE SO CRUSHED. There might be weeping. Weeping! In the train station! The worst KIND of weeping! Well, airport weeping’s pretty bad, too. I’ve totally done airport-weeping and bus-station-weeping, but have not yet hit the trifecta and conquered train-station-weeping, so let’s stay away from that one, ok? Great. Good.
I have a strange Dad-story called AN ODD CREATURE.
Dad: I need you to investigate something for me.
Me: Like a gumshoe? Or on the internet? I could do either, but the second would be easier, only because I wouldn’t have to get off the couch.
Dad: People in the real world don’t say gumshoe.
Me: What world am I in, I wonder?
Dad: I don’t know the answer to that. YES, on the INTERNETS.
Me: Oh, I’m very good at the internet. What am I investigating?
Dad: I went to the wood lot the other day and there was this dirt all over the snow.
Me: I don’t know that I can internet-stalk dirt, Dad.
Dad: So I looked closely at that dirt. And it was NOT dirt. Guess what it was.
Me: This is mysterious. I really have no idea what dirt that is not dirt is.
Dad: SNOW FLEAS.
Me: What? Snow fleas? Snow fleas are a thing?
Dad: Yes. The SNOW is covered in FLEAS. Little black fleas. If you scoop them up they start moving. And also you can squish them.
Me: Well, doesn’t that sound like a fun afternoon activity. Do they bite you like fleas?
Dad: I don’t know. I didn’t give them a chance. I squished ’em.
Me: I am kind of grossed out by this right now.
Dad: I want you to investigate these fleas and also how they live on snow because that snow is cold.
Me: OK. I can investigate this. I seriously have never heard of snow fleas. I’ve heard of sand fleas, but not snow fleas.
Dad: They’re really a thing because I was squishing them today.
Me: I’ll see what the internet has to say. I’ll let you know.
I really didn’t think snow fleas were a thing. I know. I should probably trust my own dad, right?
But they’re not really fleas. They’re springtails. Springtails! Teeny-tiny little insects that pop around by curling their tails under their butts and popping around. They are not black, but very dark blue. And when it warms up they sometimes crawl out on the surface of the snow. The internet says they do this to look for food but I think a better explanation is that they do this just to be creepy.
Also, they remind me of earwigs. Andreas, you are our Science Fellow, are springtails akin to earwigs? And if so, do you think a springtail would climb in your ear and lay eggs? GROSS GROSS GROSS. (Don’t yell at me, Andreas, I know it’s an urban legend. That doesn’t mean it still doesn’t give me the heebie-jeebies.)
Also, Wikipedia tells me that snow fleas have some sort of natural antifreeze that sciency-types are investigating to see if it can be used for organ transport and possibly (and strangely) ice cream. Please don’t put snow flea guts in my ice cream, people. I find this fascinating, mostly because I love sciency things.
So I called Dad and let him know about the snow fleas.
Me: Snow fleas are not fleas! They are SPRINGTAILS! And they have antifreeze in their tummies! Did you get the link I sent you?
Dad: I clicked on that link. You’re lucky it wasn’t porn. Your mother doesn’t let me click on porn.
Me: Why would…why the HELL would I have sent you porn in the guise of researching snow fleas? That doesn’t sound like me at all.
Dad: I’m just telling you, your mother wouldn’t like that, and also it would give me a virus, probably.
Me: Yeah, herpes.
Dad: HERPES. That is a good one. Because it’s like a sex-virus. You’re quick.
Me: I know. I learned from the best. ANYWAY, this conversation has taken an odd turn. SPRINGTAILS! ANTIFREEZE-BELLIES!
Dad: I like how you’ve turned bugs into cartoon characters.
Me: They totally are. Don’t squish them anymore. They have magic antifreeze!
Dad: You should ask the internet why they’re in my wood lot.
Me: The internet is often not that specific. I can’t just say, “Why are snow fleas in my dad’s wood lot, interweb?”
Dad: Maybe someday you can. The internet might get smarter someday.
Me: You’re the one who’s always worried it’s TOO smart and also controlled by the government and getting in our brains.
Dad: IT IS.
Me: Um…then I rest my case? I guess?
Then Dad had some helpful advice for my upcoming trip to the City. VERY HELPFUL.
Dad: When you go to that city, you shouldn’t go to the subway, because that’s where people push you onto the tracks. And you shouldn’t also go on the streets, because that’s where people shoot you with guns but they won’t let you have big sodas. Also don’t go places like buildings, because sometimes they get bombed or robbed. And also don’t go in the park because serial killers. And don’t go in restaurants because everything is much too expensive so maybe bring a granola bar. And don’t drink the water because you’ll catch diseases. Probably liberalism. MORE liberalism, I mean.
Me: So…I should go to the City and stay in the train station?
Dad: Oh. Oh, no no. Train stations are bad news. Almost as bad as subways. There are panhandlers there. Best to just stay home.
There you have it: Dad’s advice for a fun trip to the City. DON’T GO.
(Don’t worry. I’m still going. I can’t even wait. I’m not even counting the days anymore. I’m counting the HOURS now. I’m very very excited. I’m bouncy like…a springtail! I AM TOTALLY BOUNCY LIKE A SPRINGTAIL WITH A SPRINGY BUTT!)
I hope no one squishes me, yo, that’d be the worst, right?