Thursday, November 13, 2008

A behemoth in the classroom

She screamed.
Blood curdling, axe-in-the-head spine-tingling scream.

I worked years in emergency rooms in Newark, so part of me finds loud screams reassuring--airway open, patient conscious. Let the nurse deal with it until I finish sewing up the tyke in front of me.

Except this was in class. And I'm non-tenured.

A quick scan.

Blood? Nope.
Fight? Nope.
Screaming young student and others scattering away? Check.


Well, not even that.
A moth.
"Are you sure it's a moth, Dr. D?" she asked quietly.

Yes, a moth.


No. Sit down, Kyle! No one's going to kill this moth in here!

"Did it lay eggs in my hair?"

No, but even if it did, the caterpillars won't eat too much.

(Piece of advice to teachers new to high school sophomores--do not kid them about moths eating their hair. Really. Don't.)

The moth flitted to the American flag.

Seemed as good a place as any, especially this week. A newborn critter (or as newborn as an adult moth can be) muddling around in a crazy world settling on a symbol that gave it unexpected comfort.

This week both the moth and the flag gave me unexpected comfort, too.


momomom said...

You might not want to tell them about the Vampire Moth:

Things are comforting now, agreed.

doyle said...


I'll push a li'l observation on them by asking them to compare the picture of the vampire moth with the one flitting about our room (without calling it a vampire moth).

I'm betting at least 1 says they're one and the same. Only need 1, a herd will follow.

Then I'll introduce the specifics.

(OTOH, Jersey kids live with mosquitoes the size of Kansas that look like flying eggplants after stealing a load of corpuscles--not sure they're going to be frightened by a moth that does the same.)