Toxoplasma gondii redux

Driving to town the DJ is talking about toxoplasma gondii on the radio.

Everything the DJ says, Shrimp Box says first.  Except, the DJ is getting it all wrong.

Mice, rats, Shrimp Box is yelling.

Often, while driving, you see people yelling in their cars and wonder what they’re so excited about.

Parasites! is the answer.

Their life cycle something something, they move from rats to cats and back. They mate in the cats’ intestines or something, he says.

According to the DJ, toxoplasma gondii is why people are extroverts.

Shrimp Box doesn’t know about that.

He’s oversimplifying, he says to his daughter.

Also, I said toxoplasma gondii is my favorite parasite, but it might be cordyceps, when I think about it.

Also, 22% of Americans are infected? So what? There’s a town in the Czech Republic with a way higher rate of infection, he says.


And it doesn’t just make you extroverted. It has different effects on men and women. Men it makes paranoid or something. Women warm and social or something. But it makes everyone take risks. Just look at the rats and mice, they run up to cats and stuff and get eaten. They examined motorcyclists who’d been in accidents, and they had a higher rate of infection than the general population.

I had four cups of coffee this morning, how many did you have, he yells.

This is called getting the day off to a good start, he yells.

And nary a garbage truck nor student driver was seen that morning as Shrimp Box made his appointed rounds, and at work someone gave him a snack made of beans that had been exposed to gamma radiation or something.

What do we say to death? yells Shrimp Box. We say, not today!

Best-selling metamorphosism blog book progress report

Have completed initial rough editing  (i.e. cutting code-like stuff and hopeless posts) from 1865-2006. Bugging me how many posts got truncated in moves/exports/migrations/??? Without fail, if there is a comment such as, “That last paragraph was the best thing you ever wrote,” the last paragraph is missing.

It’s all gravy after that

Yesterday morning, I watched as a hipster gracefully rode a bicycle into a revolving door, then got stuck halfway around. That alone was sufficient compensation for getting out of bed that morning. The rest of the day was pure profit.

Some days are like that, the payoff comes early.

Some days, it takes until just before bed, maybe your kid shows you what she did in psychology class, classical temperament types. You’re melancholic, she says. Mom’s choleric. I’m phlegmatic.

There are days, of course, when getting out of bed is a mistake. But you never know.

Lately, though, they’ve been good. A tortoise sniffing the draft coming in under the door even before you make coffee in the morning (it’s cold nights lately, the tortoise has to stay in the house until he goes into hibernation).

A cat trying to talk you out of bacon.

Meeting a nice person.

Seeing your kid happy, or your wife.

Take the stairs to the shrimp box

Shrimp box is in a much better mood now that the kid is home from Hungary. The rains have started, cold rains that make the doorbell hum until it catches fire, so he took it apart preemptively, feeling a little like a bomb squad guy; and the gray cat has disappeared, and his wife (Shrimp box’s wife) is still in Japan, and his other daughter is in Vienna living her life, but the kid is home. He makes fruit salad for breakfast, honey dew melon and peach, and the kid eats some cereal too because she had missed cereal in Hungary, where her family stuffed her with everything else but cereal.

Shrimp box is glad to have meaning in his life again.

He wonders about the tortoise, and will it have to come inside now that it is getting colder and wetter.

Shrimp box listens to a video on Vimeo while taking a shower. He wanted drone music, but it turns out to be more metallic, and only by a band called Drone. Oh well. It sounds as if the vocalist is hollering ‘take the stairs to the shrimp box’ and Shrimp box decides to change his name to Shrimp box and to write a song with absurd lyrics, since he never understands song lyrics anyway.

The kid is so happy to have access to coffee again. Apparently Hungarian children do not drink it. She talks a lot in the car on the way to town.

‘I was reading old blog posts,’ Shrimp box says. ‘When I came home from America after going to my father’s funeral, you said, Boy am I glad you’re home, I forgot what you looked like. I only remembered that you had white hair, and that you’re nice.’

‘I said that?’ the kid is bemused.

The rain gradually peters out and stops entirely during their drive into town.

Hello, green grasshopper

We had a big green grasshopper in the living room a couple nights ago. Naturally it kept jumping on Gamma, who currently has what I imagine is a temporary case of acridophobia, the fear of having big green grasshoppers jumping on you. I caught him with a dish and a  newspaper (directions: while grasshopper is distracted reading the paper, put the dish over him) and put him into the hanging basket outside.

The following day, I was going to the kids’ apartment in Vienna after work to pick up Gamma to give her a ride home when I noticed a green grasshopper on the dashboard. It was a different one, I think. It looked smaller.

Hello, green grasshopper, I said.

I hoped it wouldn’t jump into my face while I drove and cause an accident.

I decided I would catch it when I got to the apartment and put it in a plant.

But it was so quiet I forgot it was there. Also I distracted myself thinking about how, in the 1980s, my first decade of adulthood, I thought everyone was crazy who bought the idea that deregulating anything was a good idea and how the past 30 years have proven me right and regulations were put in place for a reason and why not just take mean dogs off their leashes and take off their muzzles and say, go for it, dogs? Time to put a little more trickle in the trickle down.

So my mind was not on grasshoppers when I got where I was going.

Also I was thinking about how blogging is dead, personal blogging like this, I mean, now that everyone is on facebook, only you can’t write the way I write here on facebook, at least I can’t.

I got Gamma and we were driving along and something green flew past and Gamma was all, eek! And I was all, what? And she was all, IT’S ON YOU! and I was all, what? And she was all, green! Green grasshopper! And I was all, oh, right.

It was on my shoulder so I rolled down the window and threw it out (we were at a light) and it flew into some trees.

In the direction of the trees, at least. Up, for example.

Little green grasshopper.