Weighing in at 2 and a half ounces!
Gary would be the first to admit that he was a little bit too competitive for his own good. Given the fact that he was a former professional wrestler you would, of course, jump to the conclusion that this story will involve wrestling. It does not. But just to clarify, he had earned money while wrestling but had never made it to the big time. He spent years wrestling on the underground circuit; small auditoriums, gyms and bars mostly. Despite all the stitches and concussions he was never asked to wrestle at the next level. He finally retired from the ‘sport’ to focus on his ‘career’ at the recycling plant. If he should ever read this he will be undecided about what set of apostrophes pisses him off more.
But as I said, this story does not involve wrestling.
But it does involve the same competitive nature that he showed in the ring.
He was slouched across his 3-piece sectional at home with his enormous body that clearly could have used a 4-piece, watching TV. Flipping through the channels he found a nature program and settled in for a bit of wholesome and enlightening programming. He had a snack and a drink and all was well with the world.
Until the narrator just couldn’t stop going on and on about the Star-Nosed Mole. At first Gary watched fascinated as the program showed the ugly little guy burrowing away with his face that looked like his ass. Details about his digging prowess were shared and time and again the 22 pink appendages that make up his nose were mentioned and praised. The finger-like tentacles at the end of the snout are covered with approximately 25,000 tiny touch receptors known as Eimer’s organs, which are used to identify food. The mole can touch 13 separate areas of the ground every second with these bad boys and locate and consume 8 separate prey items in under 2 seconds.
“You’re still a revolting rodent,” Gary said between handfuls of Ritz Bits Peanut Butter crackers.
It showed the mole walking around looking for worms. All of a sudden his nose would sniff one out and then he’d grab the hapless worm who thought he was safely hidden in the soil and start chowing down.
Maybe it was because his own box of crackers was getting low and he didn’t want to get up and get another or maybe it was because the narrator had pointed out that the ‘fingers’ of the Star-Nose were 6 times as sensitive as a the human hand, but whatever it was Gary had had enough.
He closed his eyes and started to feel through what was left of the crackers at the bottom of the box to find the ones that still had 2 crackers with peanut butter between them. He hated to eat just a single plain cracker and if he had a single that was covered in peanut butter the whole cracker-to-peanut-butter ration was thrown off. His fingers, thick as they were, danced through the assorted crackers and every few seconds identified an intact cracker and brought it quickly to his mouth.
For some reason this filled him with a great amount of pride.
The narrator was explaining all about Theodor Eimer, the German zoologist who first described these incredible tentacles in 1871. Just as Gary was about to relax he heard the voice on TV veer away suddenly from Teddy and return to the business of extolling the virtues of the Star-Nose’s nose. Apparently researchers have found that after touching a small piece of food it takes them only 230 milliseconds to identify it as edible and eat it.
Gary knew that the box at his side contained no more whole cracker sandwiches. What was left was only the single crackers, some with peanut butter and some without. He wondered why, if the mole was so wonderful, nobody knew about them and the mole was relegated to some lame nature program on a channel nobody watches.
He closed his eyes and plunged his hand back into the box, trying to feel each cracker to identify if it held peanut butter on one side or was simply sitting in the box peanut butter-less. Carefully he found one of each and made his own peanut butter sandwich. Nothing else existed except his fingers and the crackers and this task. He was blind and hungry and soon it came easier for him. Eventually the box was completely empty with not a single cracker left unaccounted for.
“I could have been a mole,” he said with some satisfaction.