Tag Archives: Marine Science

From Paramecia To Prayer

by Richard

Zippy the College Boy has known what he wanted to do since he turned two. That was the year that his birthday was all bugs. The little dude had bug wrapping paper, goodie bags made out of bug hutches, bugs on his shirt and a (realistic, but fake) bug on his birthday cake.

The little dude knew he was going to do something with animals. They were going to be his life. Eventually, he grew out of bugs. Mostly I blame the late Steve Irwin.

Once Zippy the College Boy found Steve Irwin, with the exuberant Australian’s love of animals on display for the world to see, Zippy the College Boy began to see that he would be happier working with larger animals. For a while it was crocodilians (benefiting from Steve Irwin’s nom-de-boob tube, The Crocodile Hunter), but then it settled down to marine animals.

That, the nascent Zippy the College Boy decided, was what he was going to do. He was going to go to college and get a degree in marine science, then go on to get a master’s and a doctorate degree. Then, he was certain, he would go on to be the next Steve Irwin, sharing his love of and knowledge about animals with a large and growing worldwide audience.

That’s why he’s at University of North Carolina Wilmington, one of the country’s premier marine science programs. Heck, he even went to summer camp there for four years in a row because they have a marine themed fun-study camp based in the water and the sand of the Atlantic Ocean.

He never wavered.

Which made me sure his devotion to his chosen path wouldn’t make it through college. I mean, check me if I’m wrong here, dudes, but college is for exploration. That’s where you flail around the undergraduate catalog and try out a lot of different stuff before finding the thing you love. Or at least the thing you can mostly stomach and will eventually help you make a living. I just had a feeling about the boy.

I thought he was going to fall in love with theater or something along those lines, especially considering that Wilmington is one of the biggest film centers outside of Hollywood. Turns out, not so much.

Zippy the College Boy has gone even farther afield. Even before the end of his first semester, he’s decided he’d like to major in comparative religions.

Yeah. There’s a lot of people willing to pay big bucks to the holder of a bachelor of the arts degree in comparative religions. At least he’s salting that degree path with excursions into such well-paying fields as sociology and anthropology.

This too shall pass, I’m sure.

Still, it’s going to be interesting watching him move from major to major until his hours mount and the college starts talking graduation ready or not. Or he realizes he’d better graduate ’cause Mommy and Daddy ain’t paying for more school.

Hey, maybe that’s why we have kids. So we’ll have a nice spectator sport to watch as we grow older.

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Ook, Ook To The Monkey Boy

by Richard

Look out, world. Today is the day Zippy the Monkey Boy turns 18.

It’s the day he’s been looking forward to for a long, long time. He likes to think that, just because the law considers him an adult now, that he’ll be treated like an adult here at Casa de Dude.

His mom and I don’t like to disillusion him* about stuff like this, but he’s really not going to be treated as if he’s a house guest. Okay, we’ll probably not cut up his food and wipe his mouth for him, but he’s still a kid in our hearts.

At least until he’s the one who pays for dinner when we go out, but that’s a separate thing entirely.

Today, we come to praise Zippy the Monkey Boy, not to bury him.

With a name like Zippy the Monkey Boy, you’d think he was the one who was always running around, knocking things over and flinging poop all over the walls. He was. But that wasn’t why he got the name. He got the name because he took to climbing like greased-up pigs take to sliding.

He never did learn to crawl. Instead, he kept low crawling until he could stand up and walk. He wanted the extra height, you see.

Once he got up on two feet, it was only a matter of time until he started seeing the fences and stuff we’d put up around the play area, not as a thing blocking his way so he’d better turn around, but as another toy, something we put there so he could have fun climbing and dropping.

That was what we listened to when he was a baby. That thump. We’d hear it and know he’d found his way over another obstacle and we should be expecting his arrival any moment. Diapers were a wonderful thing for Zippy the Monkey Boy. Great cushion. Of course, if it were already a full diaper before he climbed and dropped, we got to clean a lot of flung stuff after.

He’s kept it up. One of my favorite pictures of him shows him high up in a tree, screaming out his triumph for having climbed that high. He was 15 when we took that picture. He likes to climb is what I’m saying.

His other most distinguishing feature through the years has been his love of animals. This is a little dude that has wanted to be a zoologist since he knew someone could actually tell people he was going to study animals all his life and people would be okay with it. Now he’s going off to one of the best marine science schools in the country so he can make the study of sharks his life work. If nothing else, it shows he’s able to find a goal and stick with it.

Zippy the Monkey Boy is getting ready to head off to Wilmington to try his act out down there, along the beaches, among the co-eds and out on his (metaphorical) own. Sure I’m worried.

But only a little. I have the feeling Zippy the Monkey Boy is going to keep on climbing, always reaching for something just out of his reach and finding a way to get it and then seeing the next thing just a little higher up.

It’s been an adventurous 18 years. I can’t wait to see what the next 18 bring.

Ook, Ook, Zip.

*no, that’s a lie. We love disillusioning him. It’s such fun.

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To And Fro On The Earth And From Walking Up And Down On It

by Richard

Okay, let’s get one thing straight first, dudes. I am not comparing myself to Satan, even though I did steal the title of this post from Satan’s dialogue with God in Job 1:7. It’s just that it gets across the sense of what’s about to happen.

That is, In the next week or so, I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling and I’m going to feel like hel– heck.

Here’s the deal. My sweetie, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Off Lucky This Time, and I like to make sure each of our little dudes gets to do something special over the summer. In some years, that included getting to mow the lawn for the first time. And the second. And the third. And the fourth. Etc., etc.

Hey, I didn’t say it was fun, just that it was special.

This year, though, it really will be fun and special. Unfortunately, it’s all starting at the same time. Here’s the schedule.

On Sunday, we’ll all four be volunteering on behalf of Tri It For Life at the Rock Hill Ramblin’ Rose women’s only triathlon. That should run us from 0600 to about 1100. After that, I’ll drop Sarcasmo and Hyper Lad off with their mom. Then Zippy the Monkey Boy and I will be off to Wilmington, NC, to drop Zippy off at MarineQuest. That is a fabulous three-week camp centered on learning about marine science and marine biology, while also having fun and — this year — getting his PADI open-water scuba certification. Zippy the Monkey Boy is mad for all things marine, so this is his dream camp.

Unfortunately, Wilmington is four hours away. Which means I’ll be getting up before 0600 and then be on the road for eight hours.

Which wouldn’t be that bad if it were the only thing going on. Monday, Sarcasmo and I head up to High Point University (about 1.5 hours away) to spend a day in early enrollment. Sarcasmo is headed off to High Point for college in August and this is his opportunity to get registered for classes and get one final look around campus before he matriculates for the first time.

So that’s Monday gone. Then, when we get back, on the next day, I take Sarcasmo to the airport. He’ll be flying from Charlotte to San Francisco airport, where he’ll catch a plane to Hong Kong with a group from Rustic Pathways. He’ll be in China for three weeks; the first week he’ll be working hard at a panda conservation park and the next two he’ll be traveling around China and seeing the sights. Lucky bas– dude.

Finally, on Sunday of next week on July 17, I’ll be loading Hyper Lad up in the mini-van and headed off to drop him off for two weeks at YMCA Camp Cheerio. Both Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy before him went to this camp and he loves it.

So, yeah, we’ll have almost three weeks alone. If you don’t count the construction workers who will have ripped out our kitchen and started banging on walls. If I make it through the next week. Yeah, should be fun.

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