Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How it is

Let me tell you how it is to be somewhat obsessed with funerals.

Yesterday I had my dissection test on Dexter. I got a perfect score because I knew that rat inside and out. I spent more time last week with him than I did with anyone else (besides Gatsby). And, because I tend to form attachments, I was bothered by the Rat Bin. The Rat Bin is the biohazard bucket under the sink in the bio lab, the storage container for Dexter between the lab and his final resting place.

After my test, I had to "throw away my rat." After, mind you, my professor cut off his foot so that no one else used Dexter for his/her test. Regardless of whatever atrocities I had done to my own rat (cutting his heart quite literally in half, for one...I won't mention how I accidentally nearly castrated him), cutting off his foot seemed particularly mean-spirited. This is because I had begun to say goodbye.

I carried Dexter (and his foot) over to the bin and began to wrap him up in paper towels like a burrito. I tucked his foot back in at the top by his little ear (the other one was in the plastic bag under him, he is forever Van Gogh) and laid him in the trash. Yes, I said a few words (in my head).

It would not have been possible for me to just toss him in the trash. And that, more than anything, is telling more than words could about the importance of funerals--no matter how small or unceremonious--they are.


jamais vu said...

Of course. It's about the only way you can thank him for his sacrifice. That, and getting a perfect score on your test! Congrats!

Kelly said...

Thanks! Yes, I have to admit I did feel a certain "obligation" to him--but Dexter definitely lived a good life. He was some scientist's favorite; you could tell from the amount of fat on him. That rat got a LOT of extra treats (compared to the other skinny-ass rats in the class) :)