Thursday, May 31, 2012

A crazed turtle!

Angry has had a 55 gallon fish tank since he was a teenager.  When we got married, it came along with him.  Many years ago, we got bored with fish so we cleaned it out and bought a turtle.  He was a red-eared slider (or Chrysemys scripta elegans for you science geeks) that we named Harold.

Not really Harold but if you've seen one red-eared slider, you seen them all!

We got all the appropriate junk to put into the tank so that he’d be a happy turtle.  Harold had water to swim in, a branch to climb on, a platform to bask on, and plants to hide behind.  We were told at the aquatic store to take him outside and let him roam in the grass to allow his shell to dry out completely once and a while.  He seemed to enjoy these excursions but was usually a little agitated when we put him back into the tank.

Angry, Harold, and I were living in harmony and then BAM!  We had an incident.

Angry’s sister (we’ll call her D) came over for a visit and wanted to “hold” Harold.  Who holds a turtle?  He’s not a puppy or a kitten!

We told D that he had just been outside and was agitated so picking him up wasn’t such a great idea.

She stuck her hand in the tank and grabbed him anyway.  But, she reached towards him from the front and he bit her finger! 

The correct way to hold your turtle from the back; avoid that beak at all costs!

He clamped down and wouldn’t let go.  Panic ensued.  Angry finally got Harold to let go by blowing into his face.

Harold, who was renamed Killer at this point (trust me, turtles don't know their names so it didn't matter that we changed it), was blood thirsty after that.  He became a turtle vampire.  Every time we tried to pick him up, he’d stretch his neck and snap like a middle aged woman snapping up the “mommy porn” book, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Killer didn’t stay with us long after that.  Our aquatic store would buy back fish and turtles so we sold him back to them.  I didn't want to live life being viewed as lunch.

Red-eared sliders have a life expectancy of 50 to 70 years.  I’m sure Killer is still hanging around, biting the hand that feeds him.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've got a tip for you!

When I was a kid my Mom and Dad, my Aunt and Uncle, my three cousins, and I would go to Arlington Park horse race track in Illinois for a Saturday of fun.  We went a couple of times each summer for many years.

My Dad would always give me a few dollars and let me choose some horses to bet on.  As a kid I was not a handicapper (obviously!) and would pick horses by their names.  I loved anything that had to do with food, dancing, colors etc.  My Dad would put $2 to Show (the horse could come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and you’d win something) and I’d cheer my heart out for “my” horse!  I did occasionally win a few dollars and my Dad let me keep it.  At the time I thought I was RICH!

My Mom and Dad as well as my Aunt and Uncle were not handicappers either.  They were there for fun but tried to pretend they knew how to bet on the “best” horse(s) for each race.  They would even try some fancy schmancy (called “exotic” at the race track) bets like a Trifecta, a Pick 6, or a Box.  No one went home a millionaire but we had a lot of fun.

On one trip we were reading the sheets and trying to pick some horses by name, by number, or by color.  You know, scientifically.  My Dad spotted a horse named Pot Roast Billy.  Everyone, including us kids, thought this was a great name and we all wanted to bet on this horse.  The adults placed the bets and we anxiously awaited the start of the race.

The gates opened and the horses started their run!  Go Pot Roast Billy!  Go!!!

Pot Roast Billy wasn’t in the mood to race that day.  He basically walked out of the gate and strolled along the race course like he was taking in the sites.  What's that over there?  A flower?  Some grass?  He finished dead last, several minutes behind the rest of the field.  I can still hear the announcer to this day, "And bringing up the rear (loooong pause) we have Pot Roast Billy."

We suddenly realized that Pot Roast was probably not a good name for an animal that could actually become a pot roast in certain countries.  Bad betting idea.

To this day, if anyone asks me for any sort of tip about anything (from my favorite running shoes to my favorite brand of cereal) I always say, “I’ve got a tip for you.  Don’t bet on Pot Roast Billy.”  No one gets it but it makes me laugh!

While our favorite horse that day disappointed us, he may have gone on the greatness (or gone on to become a pot roast).

But if anyone asks you:  DON’T. Bet. On. Pot. Roast. Billy.