Macy, my middle child, is sneaky smart. What I mean by that is that she has mastered skills that in older people would be considered ‘street smarts’ but having had little experience with the streets, street smarts doesn’t quite fit.
In this example, Macy wanted a new pet. She had a fish, Skeletor, who moved onto the great fishbowl in the sky and her class was celebrating “Critter Week”. Not that Skeletor would have made an appearance, Macy saw an opening to repopulate her bedroom’s pet population.
Her speedbump was her old man.
The kids have a dog and a cat and to me that is more than enough. Macy clearly disagrees.
“Daddy, can I get a hamster for Critter Week”
“What about a bird?”
“How about a turtle?”
“Not a chance, France”
Exasperated, she finally relented. But remember, the kid is sneaky smart. She knew that I would be out of town for a couple of days, and when it came to pets, my wife is a much softer target. I thought she gave up, she merely bided her time.
The second evening that I was gone I received a text, a video to be specific. It opened with a small shell, sitting there innocent enough but then it sprouted legs and began crawling towards the camera. I have seen a creature like this before, in my youth, the hermit crab.
The adventure was just beginning.
When asked, I was told that the newest resident of Macy’s room was named ‘The Claw’. Admittedly, I liked the name and warmed to the idea of our new, fantastically titled pet. I said good night to the girls and went about my business. Then next night I would get a much different phone call.
“How was Critter week?” I asked.
“Fine I guess.” Macy answered.
She didn’t sound fine.
“Bad news, Dad” Macy reported. “The Claw escaped.”
I would go on to find out that the top of the cage was not clicked in properly, that “The Claw” was an excellent climber and that he/she hadn’t been seen in many hours. “The Claw” was free in my home.
48 Hours later I would return home, the hermit crab didn’t. I helped Macy tear her room apart but deep down, I figured that a crab without water for three or four days didn’t stand a chance.
Then another problem reared its head. Otto, our dog was having severe stomach issues. Perhaps the kind of stomach issues one might have if they ate raw shellfish and bits of shell. Not sure but it seemed to fit.
Macy must have assumed the same. She hung a sign on her door.
Do not enter
She asked me if I thought that Otto may have eaten the crab. I said I didn’t know but I admitted that if he weren’t eaten, I would still assume him to be an ex-crab.
She asked if we could replace him. I said that we could. A couple of days later we went to the pet store and purchased a replacement that would come to be known as “Mister Crab”. We discussed the cage and safety for the crustacean and returned home. As we walked Mister Crab up the stairs to his new home, something stirred at the top of the stairs.
“The Claw” was literally making his way out of my bedroom and back into Macy’s. The resilient little bastard had hung out in my house, unnoticed, for nearly a week. I have to give it to “The Claw”, I was impressed. The dog, the cat, starvation, dehydration, an accidental trip down the stairs, no misfortune befell my new little friend.
The lesson here girls? I don’t know, really. Go behind my back and you can get what you want. That’s not great. If you ask nice enough I’ll replace an animal that you were super careless with? I don’t suppose that works. I know. I’ll go with resilience. What “The Claw” showed us is what resilience is. He endured when his chips were down. He persevered against the odds and in that he wound up making a friend. I know that this lesson is razor thin, but I like the story and come to find out I like “The Claw”. He is my leading candidate for house mascot, sorry Otto.