In the sixth grade, we had a class pet.

He was the only class pet I’ve ever had. I guess class pets weren’t a very big thing at my school.

Our class pet was a small white snake named Elmo.

He looked sort of like this:

00096bb163c3096ee5bc05

Why he was named Elmo is beyond me. I don’t remember who named him, but I think whoever it was needed to be reminded that we were in the SIXTH GRADE and therefore all very big, mature kids who would definitely not watch Sesame Street.

SIDENOTE: Meanwhile, at almost 27, I was totally quoting Sesame Street at a friend yesterday. And the friend was not a toddler.

I love snakes and reptiles and amphibians. I think they’re beautiful and interesting. Growing up, I had pet newts (can’t believe I haven’t mentioned that until now!) and I adored them all. So I definitely wasn’t afraid of Elmo himself, but I definitely was afraid of feeding him.

Elmo ate pinkies.

AKA baby mice.

10340baby_mice

Have I mentioned that I love mice, too? I think they’re the cutest. (Look at them! They’re like little adorable aliens! Then they get hair and they’re even CUTER.) Also, they’re living things, and I’m not big on eating those.

At first, Elmo ate frozen pinkies.

SIDENOTE: I feel queasy just writing about this.

They were like little mouse ice cubes. My sixth grade teacher – who was, by the way, a vegetarian (she loved chocolate cake) – was adamant that I take part in the feeding process, even though I didn’t want to watch Elmo eat.

“It’s the food chain, Andrea. It’s the cycle of life.”

So I would stand by and watch Elmo eat the micecubes.*

It wasn’t horrible. It was neat watching him unhinge his jaw. The mouse didn’t like, try to run away or anything. I could cope.

Fine.

I think my teacher felt like she had “gotten through to me” or whatever.

But one day, they were out of frozen pinkies.

CUT TO: Grown-up Andrea shouting, “Oh hell no!”

I sat at my desk during feeding time, but once again, my teacher insisted I get involved.

“It’s the food chain, Andrea. It’s the cycle of life.”

Despite my protesting, she shoved me to the front of the class to watch Elmo eat the live pinkie.

It couldn’t really run away from him. I mean, it hadn’t even opened its eyes yet. But that didn’t stop it from crying and squeaking and squirming all the way down. It was still moving around when it reached Elmo’s…abdomen? (I dunno, snakes are one long body, what do you want me to say?)

So that was basically one of the worst moments ever.

It was the day I learned:

(A) I will never have a pet snake.

(B) I will always be a vegetarian.

(C) My sixth grade teacher was kind of a jerk.

(D) I’m cool with not being exposed to the food chain.

(E) I love mice, even when they look like aliens.

Among many other things.

xA

P.S. Also the reason I never got a gecko. No live crickets for this girl.

P.P.S. Elmo eventually escaped his tank. He wasn’t found until like, a year later, when the janitor found him dead in the gymnasium’s storage room, wrapped up in the parachute. Yay.

*”Micecubes” TM Andrea Beça.

Advertisements