The Right Coast

March 04, 2004
Losing my hearing
By Tom Smith

This morning as I was preparing breakfast for the kids or something, Jeanne asked "Would you see if Luke's musk ox has a vulva?" I knew immediately something was not quite right. I was virtually certain none of our children had a musk ox. We have two large dogs, a missing snake, a gecko, and a diabetic and emotionally needy guinea pig, but no musk ox. Furthermore, it would have been much more natural to say, "Do you happen to remember if Luke's musk ox is a cow or a bull?" Or, not being agricultural people, "a boy ox or a girl ox?" I often find the little tasks Jeanne asks me to do in the morning a little trying, but it seemed a bit much to ask me to examine the genitals of a large bovine purportedly belonging to my 12 year old. At a loss, I finally gave in. "Musk ox?" "What?" said my lovely wife. "What about a musk ox?" "LUNCH BOX," said Jeanne. Ah, does my eldest son's lunch box have a vulva. Now I was getting somewhere. No need to examine a large and quite probably smelly beast to know the answer to that question. Certainly not. "No," I replied confidently. Not a satisfactory answer, apparently. Silence, of the bad sort. "Luke's lunchbox does not have a vulva," I reinterated. Exasperated laughter. "WOULD YOU CHECK TO SEE IF LUKE'S LUNCH BOX IS IN THE VOLVO?!" Ah. I task I can understand. So I walked out to the driveway and looked in the Volvo. Old backpack. Copy of Princess Moenoko or whatever, miscellaneous CDs, used Kleenex. What was it I came out here looking for? Getting old is so wonderful.