Thursday, March 5

little dickens

In grade three, our class took care of chicken eggs for our science module.  I guess I should clarify that we didn't actually have to sit on the eggs to hatch them or take care of an egg a la one of those "requisite thirty-minute sitcom involving teenagers where the teen learns how difficult it is to take care of a baby so here is an egg, name it, love it, and for the love of pizza, don't scramble it, and I hope you understand how hard it is to raise a child so for the love of pizza again keep your horny hands to your self - not that way! - and appreciate how much responsibility goes into parenting, and oh yah hai, it must be sweeps week because this is a racy topic that is also ripe for pratfall" scenarios.

We had an electric incubator to do the sitting for us and no sweeps week to satisfy.

The incubator looked liked a beer fridge with a glass door, and there were shelves dotted with teeny tiny holders for the teeny tiny beer cans, I mean average sized eggs.  I think there was a light bulb in the back and it sat on a table at the back of our large classroom that also doubled as the assembly hall for the entire school. The huge beer-can size plug filled the jack behind the incubator and we were constantly warned never to touch it lest we be zapped into next week. Ah the seventies were truly survival of the fittest and easy qualification for the Darwin Awards.

My class spent a lot of time around that incubator (steering away from the plug).  We were responsible for rotating our eggs under very strict supervision - and trust me, you didn't cross Sister Mary Margaret when she's was holding a metre stick and you were two foot nothin' and holding an egg with a fluffy chick who's gonna call you momma on the outside, because mark my word, penguins can be fast when it comes to metric. 

Each egg had a set of initials so we could tell our babies apart.  I remember one time we cut out egg-shaped holes in black construction paper. We then placed our egg into the hole very, very carefully and held it in front of a blinding light so we could see our very distinct chicks.  It looked like a tiny little golf ball sporting a tiny head, easily distinguished by a sharp little beak that soon would embark on it's virgin pecking voyage through the walls of it's current home.

Nurturing our eggs was an exciting time in our classroom that was only marred by one detail.  Chickens need about three weeks to incubate and our second week fell during the March Break.  I remember hearing that the school could only get the fertilized eggs during that time frame, but even at the tender age of eight, I suspected they had timed it on purpose because they were pricks.  Have I ever mentioned I didn't really love school?

When we realized this, it was cause for great commotion. I may have even instigated some of the complaints. Sure, we loved vacation but we were eight year old girls dammit - loving a baby chick, wearing BONNEBELL lipsmacker, and knowing the best skip rope rhymes made us tick.  We wanted it all. We wanted to take care of our eggs and go see a matinee of On the Right Track starring Gary Coleman on a Wednesday afternoon dammit!

I distinctly remember it was circle time when we talked about it with our teacher.  We were clustered around her feet as she explained what was going to happen during the March Break. Our eggs would be cared for by one of the more spry residents of our school (did I ever mention nuns lived in my school?) and everything was going to be alright.

Anyhow, March Break passed, we returned to find an incubator full of eggs.  Everything was alright.  The eggs were due to hatch near the end of the week and we were told that they would be taken home by the teacher so she could keep a closer eye during their due date.

Well it turns out everything wasn't alright.

It turns out someone unplugged the incubator during the March Break week [my suspects: Mrs. Peacock in the library with the candlestick or the custodian and his industrial-size floor buffer].  And when it was discovered, it was too late.  I'd like to think there was a late night meeting filled with panic and accusations but all I do know is someone found nineteen fertilized eggs due at the same time.  Apparently someone in our school had a farm connection or ties to the Pollo Nostra.  Anyhow, we had new eggs to care for and all was well except for one thing - the replacement eggs weren't chicks, they were ducks.

I honestly think the only reason they ever told us was because the ruse was up when nineteen daffys were hatched at my teachers home and she enterpreted that as sign from the Big Guy himself to confess the deception.  That and they were completely over the top BUSTED.

Also have you checked out the February ROFLs yet? I nominated Mama Tulip for her Stinker post because it seriously made my sides split.  I'm sending her my plastic surgery bill in the mail.  Want to laugh some more? Go check out the ROFLs over at Mrs. Chicky and Oh, The Joys. Thanks for another hilarious month ladies.


Heather said...

I thought you were going to say that they just got some eggs from the market and they never hatched. Ducks! I love it. Whoops!

Jana said...

Hee..that sounds like something I would try to pull off in the classroom. Thankfully, my students know that I am a scatterbrain, and they still humor me by doing their schoolwork.

I love the stories that you tell.

kgirl said...

I'm finding the picture of the colonel a bit disturbing. but this post makes me love you even more.

daysgoby said...

'penguins can be fast when it comes to metric.'

Hee! Katie, this is great stuff!

Daffys! Hee!

WV: reekest. No lie!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I didn't know Gary Coleman had a film career.

Mac and Cheese said...

This story made me a little sad!

We incubated chickens in grade 7 with a teacher who has since been arrested for his involvement in a kiddie porn ring. Not sure what the relevance of that is, but it seemed like a story worth telling.

Mandy said...

So funny! Really.

We hatched chicks when I was in nursery school (so what, 3?).

I remember holding a ball of warm yellow fluff in my hands and having it fall asleep. Magic.

for a different kind of girl said...

That photo is both creepy and slightly tittilating. I shall never look at an original recipe drumstick the same way again, which is is sort of sad when you consider I did actually look at them with lustful eyes.

We had the chicks in an incubator lesson in kindergarten. That is the only thing I remember about my time Mrs. Hooper's class. They don't do that anymore (at least here) and that is a damn shame.

Chag said...

My brother's class did this in second grade, I think. Only they got to bring the chicks home with them as pets.

Which is a really, really, really stupid idea when you stop and think about it.

Kyla said...

I think they should have acted shocked and said, "What in the world did you kids do wrong to turn these chicks into ducks?!" That would have been awesome.

The Stiletto Mom said...

We had to do this as seniors. Only they weren't fertilized eggs, just the usual ones and we had to carry them around for a week to scare us off the idea of ever doing anything that might lead to pregnancy. Of course, during the course of that week they caught two kids doing the big no-no in the school chapel. The nuns did not find that amusing at all.

Stimey said...

Oh, dear lord, that is some funny stuff. I also like the image of the late-night meeting. I love that the nuns almost got away with it.

mamatulip said...

This was HILARIOUS, case in point:

because mark my word, penguins can be fast when it comes to metric.

but even at the tender age of eight, I suspected they had timed it on purpose because they were pricks.

We wanted to take care of our eggs and go see a matinee of On the Right Track starring Gary Coleman on a Wednesday afternoon dammit!

Seriously, I am ROFL.

Thanks for the bling. :)

Mimi said...

Wow! What a story, Katie! Very funny, too, um, except if you were a neglected baby chicken. Then kinda tragic, actually.

Sanctity of life: yer doin' it wrong, nuns!

Fidget said...

so they didnt pass it off as the miracle of god? Water to wine, chickens to ducks?

Amanda said...

There is something about scinece class rooms that incites a kind of insanity unlike anywhere else in the school. Takes me back to Mr. Bongers and his obsession with fart juice on chairs.

kittenpie said...

Way to scar a room full of 8-y.o.s! Youch.