Sometimes I wish I were a scientist, a brainiac whose findings are held sacred.
Writers are not so privileged. If I believed aliens control all printers — especially mine — my family would hide the tinfoil.
Contrariwise, if researchers declared aliens manipulate our printers, the government would offer them millions to also investigate intergalactic control of garage door openers.
Being a scientist would be nice.
But I’ve never displayed much aptitude. As a child, I wrote poetry about tigers instead of studying their messy hunting habits. Glittering rocks weren’t geological specimens. In my mind, they morphed into jewels from Ali Baba’s cave. The TV weatherman, with mysterious, loopy drawings, was a wizard wearing a suit. Unlike Jesus, he couldn’t stop storms. But he sure knew how to stir them up.
My world intrigued me — my mother’s roses, summer evenings lit by firefly lanterns, the moon glimmering like the Pearl of Great Price.
However, science teachers wanted me to get up close and personal with germs, gutted frogs and pickled baby pigs.
Planning a college music major, I rejoiced when I’d fulfilled my science requirement. No more icky labs!
However, advanced science and math classes at my school were given extra points. Stuck with a good but downgraded GPA, I considered chemistry and physics, both of which sounded like endless-math disasters. Physics also involved objects striking each other. I already knew too much about that, having totaled Dad’s car. So, I took advanced biology. A bonus: my boyfriend and I became lab partners!
However, he expected me to read the labs before class — what nerve! I discovered we were studying fruit fly (blush!) reproduction. Subconscious sympathy for the insects’ eventual euthanasia made me forget to replace lids on their jars. …
The fruit flies survived longer than our relationship.
My ex-boyfriend/lab partner rejoiced when schedule changes sent me to a different biology class. A tall, math-science type with a cute smile sat across from me. Fortunately, we didn’t become lab partners. Eventually, we dated and attended college together.
When he, a superstar chemistry major, tutored me in unavoidable College Chemistry 100, I always read the material beforehand. With his help, I passed.
A few years later, my tutor became my husband. As he went to medical school, I continued brushes with icky science. Hubby wore the smell of formaldehyde more than aftershave. I laundered lab coats and surgery shoes with mysterious smears. Though he’s now retired, a relative still may approach us while eating out, concerned about Aunt Pearlie Mae’s hemorrhoids.
I am not and never will be gifted with objectivity or a strong stomach.
Being a scientist is a privilege I can live without.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Would you like to be a scientist?