Learning Lessons From The Scene Of The Crime

Mar 21, 2011 by

Death is rude.

Never a “may I,” “pardon me,” or “so sorry.”

About the only nice thing one can say of death will be at its own. An appropriate epitaph would be ‘He showed no favorites.” Death treats all, regardless of race, status, color or age, equally.

Death’s timing is no better than its actions. The Sons of Thunder know this too well of late. Our little clan would like a pass for a while, quite a while actually.

But no, that won’t do. And it was to the youngest Son of Thunder that the black-robed scythe paid his latest visit.

There are certain sounds no parent wants to hear.

We heard those, along with some rather peculiar phrases as well. Words like “cage,” “Anakin,” and “on the floor.” It was not until I arrived upstairs that things slowly fell into place. What I saw was a cage – a gerbil cage – upside down on the floor. The sawdust and other bedding that was in said cage was now all over the floor. Anakin, the dwarf hamster of the Youngest Son, was nowhere to be found.

Also missing was the Dog Who Thought She Could Fly and the two cats belonging to the Sons and the Little Black Dress. I make that latter point so readers will understand said cats are not my cats. I don’t do cats.

Utilizing my years of investigating reporting background, combined with an immense level of deductive reason and a rapier wit, I concluded we had a probable crime scene.  Nevertheless, a full-blown search, complete with flashlights, was conducted. The fact said search was held in the room of a Thunder Son who did not believe anything should ever be thrown away made the investigation slightly more difficult.

The Dress and I, after looking at each other, suggested to Youngest Son that Anakin probably got away and jumped out the open window and is now off playing with other escaped gerbils and frolicking in the meadows and dashing in the woods and …

“He can’t jump that high.”

Okay, well that was pretty well dead-on. While the youngest in years, said Son often is the sage amongst the three. And then we got a look, the kind that breaks your heart and makes you realize you are going to have to talk about death … again.

And so you start the talk and some of the lessons sound familiar:

Someone is going to get blamed

This time, it’s the Little Black Dress. Turns out she moved Anakin and his cage from the Youngest Son’s room to the Middle Son’s room because the Dog Who Thought She Could Fly was constantly trying to do just that, and land inside Anakin’s cage. Although never successful, that is getting into the cage, the flying action did knock the cage around some.

And so The Dress moved the cage next to yet another gerbil’s cage in another room. This was a temporary move that – I promise – will be explained later. But it was this action that led Youngest Son to, well, blame The Dress for what had transpired.

And the LBD tries to explain why she did what she did. And it’s not having much of an impact on the Youngest Son. So she tries again, and then I get pulled into it with a look from The Dress and the comment, “right dad? right? Isn’t that right, tell him dad.”  I try my best but I not really get why the cage was moved either (which I do understand now and will explain later). Basically, I’m not a lot of help here.

Regardless of the circumstances, death causes us to issue blame.

Blame the stereotype

“Roxie (the Dog Who Thought She Could Fly) did it.”

As I said, the Youngest Son is astute and I pretty much agreed with him on this one. Maybe it was the fact I had to kick gently move Miss Roxie away from the various gerbil cages on more than a hundred times. Maybe it was the fact that Miss Roxie would get inches from a cage and bark and bark and well, just bark.

Maybe it was the fact the Dog Who Thought She Could Fly was nowhere to be found. And once found, had a “You honestly think I jumped on the bed, flew halfway across the room, jumped up on the desk and knocked the cage over onto the floor … and I want a lawyer now” kind of look. The fact said dog is constantly referred by me as “rat dog” and immediately peed once I found her did not help her case.

Or it could have been the cat. Not Mr. Three as he is simply obese and couldn’t if he wanted to. But Sam is another matter. I say that because on more than one occasion I’ve caught Sam sitting on top of one of the cages licking his lips. Licking like I do when someone presents me with a porterhouse steak covered with cracked pepper and olive oil and right off the grill.

Or they could have worked in cahoots. I mean, they do sleep together.

So we have the moral of guilt by association. Not only that, but we always assume the stereotype is guilty.

This blog is getting too deep philosophically.

We say stupid things

We don’t mean to, but death makes us just babble sometimes. As was the case with the Middle Son. “Wow, what a day. My older brother got a new canteen, I got a Star Wars figure and my younger brother got his gerbil eaten by Miss Roxie.”

Okay, not exactly smooth there. He tried. He failed. But he’s learning.

Accidents happen and sometimes it’s too late

As I mentioned, The Dress moved Anakin’s cage. There was a reason. Said cage was faulty, a slight jar would/could make the cage door open. Sitting in the back of the LBD’s car was a new cage with a better door. She had just gotten it a couple of hours before The Incident and was waiting for Youngest Son to come home.

She moved the cage into the other room because there was a gate the Sons would put across the door of the bedroom to keep the Dog Who Thought She Could Fly out of said room. Thus the gerbils would be safe.

They forgot to put the gate up.

Sometimes Death takes the right one

Not that we should rejoice at the death of anyone, but if someone has to go …

Anakin did not exactly fit the stereotype of cuddly gerbil. At one point he had a roommate – so named Chase. They were soon separated after The Dress noticed Chase was missing chunks of his body; chunks about the size of a gerbil’s mouth.


The theological debate

“Is Anakin in heaven?”

Loaded. Loaded question.

I can’t find a scripture that says all dogs, cats and yes, gerbils, go to heaven. I also can’t find one that says they won’t. And I don’t need comments from the “United Super Christian Church of Animals Have No Souls” spewing doctrine.

God is the creator of everything. Heaven, according to Scripture, is a place of perpetual joy. Youngest Son is seven. And so despite Anakin’s earlier aggressiveness toward Chase …


An aside – I believe there is one and only one way for humans to get to heaven. The Bible is very clear. I have no clue about pets. I’m not going to get into – ever – a debate about pets in heaven. And the “United Super Christian Church of Animals Have No Souls” can picket my house – the Sons will bring you out lemonade when it’s hot. There are more important issues.

Back to the conversation.

“Yes … and he’s up there playing with Sparky.” Sparky was a dog belonging to my parents that Youngest Son, for whatever reason, especially loved.

“What if Sparky eats him like Roxie did”? Told you the kid was a sage.

“They’re in heaven, they don’t eat each other up there. God makes sure of that. And Mimi and Papa (the LBD’s parents) are up there and are taking care of both of them.”

Youngest Son thought for a moment, nodded, and said “Okay … goodnight.”

And so today The Dress and Youngest Son are off to Gerbil/Hamster House of Fun to find another. I just hope the hamster humane society police will give us a little more grace and not pay a visit.






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1 Comment

  1. Betsy Perry

    Such is life…( and death) . THIS one is the best!