Just in Case I’m Never Heard From Again

My daughter and her friend have been holed up in her room this evening, doing “scientific experiments.” Every once in a while I’ll get updates, like so:

“Great news, dad! The eggs are GAINING OXYGEN!”

And then back into the room.

The eggs, people.

They are gaining oxygen.

I’m off to hide now.

29 Comments on “Just in Case I’m Never Heard From Again”

  1. John, humans need Oxygen to live – we can’t let the eggs have it! You must stop these unfertilized terrorists at all costs!

    Time to call the President.

  2. I knew I was living in a science-fiction future when I went to the Discovery Store to hunt out Christmas presents about four years back and found a DNA sequencing kit. Aimed at ten-year olds.

    Hug ’em from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  3. Scientific curiosity is an awesome thing to encourage in kids.

    My three-year-old knows all the planets of the Solar System, including their order from the sun, and he can spell all of them correctly. For his fourth birthday, I’m thinking about getting him that Fisher-Price My First Fusion Reactor.

    Hey, we may be in the minority relative to the Creationist Camp crowd, but their children will serve the fries to our kids two decades hence.

  4. spacejock – Simon Haynes is the author of four Hal Spacejock novels, a number of articles on writing and publishing, and several short stories, one of which collected an Aurealis Award in 2001. He divides his time between writing fiction and computer software, with the occasional round of golf thrown in for a laugh. Born in the UK and raised in the south of Spain, Simon emigrated to Australia with his family in 1983. He's a founding member of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and lives in Perth with his wife and two children.
    Simon Haynes

    Trust me, they’re hatching something …

  5. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, imbued with specialness

    Yikes!!!

  6. This of it this way, John: if the house blows up at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that Athena wasn’t afraid to try. :-)

  7. When I was a kid, I used to look longingly through the Signals (PBS’s catalogue) and the toys for rich people catalogues and the toys I wanted the most were all the sciencey toys. The indoor planetarium so you could reflect the seasonal night sky on your bedroom ceiling. The terrarium habitats. The microscope and slide kit. The butterfly net and insect field guide.

    I wanted a chemistry set. All the kids in YA from the 50s and 60s had them. (Well, all the male kids. Female kids had to tomboy it up.) There was even a mystery or two surrounding weird chemistry sets and mysterious old ladies. (And if anyone can remind me of the title….that would be awesome. Then I can indulge in nostalgia.)

    Also I have fond memories of my dad building a cloud chamber in the kitchen.

    I hope Athena’s having as much (but hopefully more) fun with her homemade science.

  8. Eggsactly. You must be eggstatic with her progress. It is a good thing that she isn’t too hard-boiled to come out of her shell and share the details of her efforts.

    (Sorry. I didn’t sleep much last night.)

  9. That’s better, I suppose, than Athena sticking her head out the door and saying, “The plutonium, Dad, it’s beginning to fission!”

    Better, but not much.

  10. That’s better, I suppose, than Athena sticking her head out the door and saying, “The plutonium, Dad, it’s beginning to fission!”

    Give her time.

  11. Pixelfish – Scott Corbett’s Trick series starring Corby, Fenton, and Mrs. Graymalkin? I loved those when I was a girl. I used to snitch them from one of my little brothers and read them.

    I also enjoyed Alvin Fernald, esp when he invented the horribly hot candy, Fernald’s Fireballs, and won the contest because he forgot the name of the ingredient that made it too spicy. Good times.

  12. When she faithfully recreates the chest-bursting scene from Alien, you’ll know she’s made it.

    Though originality wins out every time. Ah, childhood.

  13. And because nobody else has said it yet:

    I for one welcome our new Ovum overlords.

    Now to get the shell out of here.

  14. The four-year-old male version:
    Vrrooom. Vrrooom.
    Mommy, look. Look at it, Mommy. The truck is climbing right up the wall. It’s going up!

    Whoa. It’s okay, Mommy. It didn’t hit anything! I’m going to do it again!

  15. Last Christmas I was at the Discovery store with a friend when she found the chemistry set and thought she would get it for her daughter (9 years old). I had to step in. “It may be kid safe now, but after your husband get his hands on it, you’re going to have an incident with Homeland Security.” Her husband was a combat engineer in the army. He “blowed thangs up” for fun. To him, the cabinet under the kitchen sink doesn’t contain cleaning supplies. It’s backup bomb-supplies. She put the chemistry set down and bought the astronomy kit.

    She also banned us from watching Myth Busters because we get too many ideas.

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