Monday, December 5, 2011

Fairy Wasps and Other Tiny Topics

            “You’re kidding!”

            Alex and I looked at Chris in disbelief. We were sitting at Chili’s eating lunch, and the topic under discussion – wasps – was not particularly conducive to a relaxing meal.

            “No, I’m not kidding,” Chris continued. “There are fairy wasps that are smaller than a paramecium or an amoeba. Imagine a wasp with thousands of cells that is smaller than a one-celled organism.”

            My mind flashed back to ancient times, where I saw myself looking at pond water through a microscope.  If you can remember anything at all about middle school science class, it’s probably the first time you saw microscopic living creatures swimming around in the water from your local swimming hole.

            “That’s highly disturbing,” Alex responded.

            I nodded, totally in agreement.

            Chris looked confused. “I don’t see what’s disturbing about it.”

            Alex explained, “I don’t like the idea that there’s a wasp I can’t see.”

            “I have to agree with him,” I chimed in. “My experiences with wasps have been rather unpleasant. It’s creepy to think that there’s a wasp flying around that I can’t see.”
            “You’re both nuts,” Chris stated bluntly. “These fairy wasps are a miracle of science.” He held up his iPhone and showed us a picture of the tiny creature. It looked like a very small…wasp.

            “It’s adorable, dear.”

            Alex bit his lip to keep from laughing when Chris rolled his eyes at me.

            “You should thank me for imparting all of this interesting knowledge to you. If I hadn’t introduced you to fairy wasps, you’d still be ignorant about them.”

            Alex and I grinned. Chris really did teach us a lot of interesting science stuff.

            “Thanks, Dad,” Alex answered. Only a teenager can say “thanks” and have it mean the exact opposite. I guess it’s all in the attitude.

            Chris chose to ignore the tone. “You’re welcome.” He turned to me. “You’re welcome, too.”

            “I appreciate everything you do to keep me from wallowing in ignorance,” I replied, winking at him.

            Chris snorted.

            In truth, his interesting conversation topics are one of the things I love about him. Just don’t tell him that, please.
If you must, you can read more about fairy wasps in Discover Magazine: