Slower than molasses in January, moving as if they need an I.V. of Geritol.
Irritable, testy, quick to snap. Wrinkly, toothless, and just want to be left alone.
Sound like old crotchety Mr. Get-Off-My-Lawn from down the block?
Nope. I’m talking about you. The older, future you.
So, before this day comes, this holiday season, make plans to take your children and yourself to the nearest pet shop, and buy them a turtle. The care of a turtle provides fertile training ground for the future care of you. What could be more like the person your kids will be tending to in fifty years? Because that's what you will one day be to your family, their own giant sized pet turtle.
Since they can remember, my three boys have had to look after and tend to these basic reptiles. There was Old Crabby Cakes Martina, who snapped at anything flesh colored or dangling that crossed her field of vision. Before her, there was our sweet box turtle, Old Suzanna. And how fondly my kids recall their starter turtle, the creatively named “Tommy the Turtle.”
The kids think we had them for their amusement. But I know the real reason: we had them so that when it’s my turn to be cared for, the boys will be grand practitioners in the care of the ambling, fussy, touchy, and cranky. [Seriously, ever see what happens when you poke a turtle with a stick?]
Turtles are the old people of the animal kingdom. Pick one up and look at it closely. Within seconds, you'll swear you're looking at a tiny little old person.
They use their toothless beaks to gum things to death, all the while in their hard shelled diaper, they tentatively step over surfaces as if in fear of breaking a bone and thereby losing their house.
They require minimal care; they only need to be kept dry and without fractured spines, and prefer to bask in sunny spots like Florida and Arizona. One only needs to maintain their surroundings clean and to prevent them from crossing streets alone or roaming freely. And, as they are very vulnerable creatures, you must protect them from predators.
You know, like the son of the Nigerian prince who needs their help in wiring over five million dollars to the United States.
What? Did you think I was still talking about the turtles?
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