June 2, 2013 by drandmrso
I asked Dr. O the following question: What animal has the longest nerve?
“A giraffe,” he said confidently.
“How did you know that?” I replied, incredulous that he had guessed correctly on the first attempt.
“I don’t know. They have really long necks.”
“Ok, well which nerve is it?”
“You have to guess while I’m looking it up in here,” I said, quickly flipping the pages of Mental Floss to find the article about giraffe trivia.
“Why do you get to look it up?”
“Because I don’t have a medical degree.” I had found the page. “Guess!”
“Nope, laryngeal! It says it goes from their brain to their heart back up to their larynx. Why would it do that?”
“Well why wouldn’t it go just from the brain to the larynx? Why does it go all the way to the heart and back up?”
“That’s how it develops embryonically.”
“That’s how it develops embryonically,” I said back, in my best mock-doc voice. “It also says that giraffes have a lot of heart attacks because they need really high blood pressure to get blood up to the brain.”
“That’s funny,” Dr. O said with a chuckle.
“That’s not funny! Poor giraffe.”
I let the cats out onto the deck one morning while I was having breakfast and getting ready for work. They both beelined it to one very specific spot and peered down through the gaps in the boards with great intent.
Understandably curious at this new behavior, I soon found myself in my business casual attire on my hands and knees on the deck, elbowing Jules and Vincent out of my way to see what was so interesting. Was it a big spider web? A bee hive? A bat? Here’s what I saw:
Five or six squirmy, barely feathered little balls of fluffy warm bird babies. I watched them blindly nuzzle each other, could see their tiny little hearts beating.
“Baby birds!” I squealed. I quickly shooed the cats back in the house, assuming that the mama bird wouldn’t risk returning to the nest with a predator so close by. How could she know the cats couldn’t actually get their paws on her precious little chicks?
Dr. O and I had noticed the nest a couple weeks earlier when we were hauling sand into the backyard for our beer garden (more coming on that soon!). But I hadn’t thought to check if there were actually eggs! I hurriedly texted him.
Although his reply didn’t convey as much excitement as I felt, I knew that when he saw them he would also feel the baby-animal high that I had been enjoying the whole day. So as soon as got home from the hospital I ushered him out to the deck. He totally swooned over the little hatchlings and (to my surprise) agreed that we should keep the cats off the deck for a while so the mama bird could take care of the chicks. And the next day I caught him checking on them again! When he came back inside he excitedly reported that there’s still one egg left to hatch. Who knew Dr. O had a soft spot for baby birds?