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The Clones Have Come Home To Roost

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2021

The small aquarium I volunteer at is celebrating its one-year anniversary of being open. This coincides perfectly with the new release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” As such, the managers have decided to invite several people to dress up in character and hang around the aquarium. This draws in huge crowds, and while it’s fun for the guests, it’s making it hard for the employees/volunteers to get anything done.

I’m racing to deliver more birdseed to the aviary when I round the corner and find a full battalion of Clone Troopers in the 501st armor colors. The one dressed as Captain Rex stops me.

Captain Rex: “What is that?”

Me: “Birdseed? I really need to get through.”

Captain Rex: “You may pass.”

I delivered the birdseed but had several more run-ins with the Clones, as well as Darth Vader himself.

That Kid Doesn’t Miss Shark Week

, , , , | Right | May 5, 2021

I am enthusiastic about fish and sharks, and I volunteer at a small aquarium that features local ocean species. The center exhibit contains very small sharks, hardly longer than a foot, with lithe bodies and brown patterns.

Visitor reactions vary. Some can get as close as “sand shark” or “dogfish.” Kids often run in shouting, “Tiger shark!” or else ignore them, thinking they aren’t sharks at all. Adults sometimes are fooled, too, and I have heard them more than once identified as, of all things, eels. I love the reactions when I tell them those really are sharks. Their small size doesn’t help much, as it means having to listen to parents singing Baby Shark until I inform them and their kids that these are adult sharks.

Imagine my surprise when a little boy, maybe six or seven tops, ran in and shouted, “CHAIN CATSHARK!”

To this day, that was the only time I didn’t have to inform a visitor of what species they were looking at. I hadn’t even heard of the species myself before volunteering there, and I’m obsessed. And yet, this boy had. His parents explained that he just loved sharks. I was proud.

Something Fishy About Those Two…

, , , , , | Right | November 24, 2020

I work at an aquarium taking photos. My section is situated at the end of the first section after going through one set of exhibits. A couple approaches me.

Guest: “Where is the entrance?”

I notice that they haven’t checked in as their tickets clearly haven’t been ripped.

Me: “The entrance is where you entered the building.”

Guest: “Where is the aquarium?”

Me: “You are in the aquarium; this whole building is the aquarium.”

Guest: “Where do we get our tickets checked?”

Me: “At the front desk, where you entered from.”

Guest: “Okay, thanks.”

They leave towards the entrance to get checked in.

I am left thinking, “How can you not notice all the tanks filled with dozens of fish and not think you are in the aquarium?”

This Situation Will Just Snake Along, Part 2

, , , , | Right | October 1, 2020

The aquarium I volunteer at will occasionally bring live animals out on the floor for people to touch and learn about. This lovely bit of almost-dialogue happens while I am wearing/holding my favorite snake, a four-and-a-half-foot, almost forty-pound Dumeril’s Boa named Mav.

Dude:Whoa! Snake! I love snakes!”

Me: “Want to pet him? He’s a D—”

Dude: “She’s a reticulated python, yeah?”

He begins petting the snake backward, against the grain of his scales. This tends to have the same effect as petting a cat backward.

Me: “No, he is a B—”

Dude: “Baby Burmese python, yeah. The blue eyes are cool. Really rare.”

He is still petting backward.

Me: “Um, no. They just look blue because he’s going to shed soon, and he’s actually an adult B—”

Dude:Ball python, right! Right, ri—”

Me: “HE. IS. A. BOA.”

The dude just blinks.

Me: “He’s a Dumeril’s Boa. They live in Madagascar.”

Dude: “Wait, like, a boaconstrictor?”

He says, “Boa constrictor,” quickly, as one word.

Me: “It’s just ‘boa’. The ‘constrictor’ part is redundant. All boas, pythons, and most other non-venomous snakes are constri—”


If Mav had hands, even HE would have facepalmed.

This Situation Will Just Snake Along

She Just Invented The World’s Worst Jello Flavor

, , , , , , | Right | June 29, 2020

I am manning a touch-tank exhibit at the aquarium and overhear this exchange between a mother and a young child:

Mother: “What does the starfish feel like?”

Three-Year-Old Daughter: “Um, uh… strawberries!”