Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What A Turtle Reveals About The State Of The Minneapolis School System...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

I recently came into possession of a common eastern box turtle, which I named "Reggie" for reasons nobody really needs to know. Reggie is a miraculous survivor whose shell was cracked and then completely healed, presumably in a close encounter of the automotive kind.

What does Reggie eat? Well, after spending a number of days with him, I can tell you what he does NOT eat: dead bugs scraped off the radiator of a vehicle. Shrimp from a Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. Lettuce, tomato, lychee fruit and mandarin oranges from that same buffet. A live bumble bee that stunned itself on a plate glass window and was laying on the sidewalk, legs churning ineffectually. And, incredibly, Reggie doesn't seem to care much for so-called "turtle food" which has a picture of a turtle on the container which could be Reggie's twin.

But he must have been eating SOMETHING because...


...he's still alive, unless he can just live for days on bathtub water and rock and roll from a radio. When I got to Minneapolis, I gave Reggie to Jordan Neighborhood resident Tyrone Jaramillo, though Tyrone actually doesn't care for turtles or lizards and was just accepting Reggie on behalf of Tyrone's wife, Alexandra, whose love of reptiles more than balances out Tyrone's lack of affection for cold-blooded creatures.

When I gave Reggie to Tyrone, the turtle was in his red canvas "Reggie pouch," which used to hold my shaving cream, razors and whatnot. Chatting with Tyone, we talked about Alexandra's plans for the turtle. She had made a yard enclosure, so Reggie would have plenty of room to romp around during the temperate months...as well as turtles can romp, anyway. I told Tyrone I should get a few more box turtles and we could have turtle races during our famous North Minneapolis backyard barbeques.

Tyrone mentioned, casually, that Alexandra brings her reptiles around for students to learn about animals. Then Tryone mentioned how it was odd, really...how the schools don't seem to have live animals where students can check out rats, lizards, a live anaconda eating (the horror!) an albino mouse.

"Like, when I was in school," Tyrone said, swigging on a beer. "We always had a place where you could see stuff like that. Why don't they have that here? That's messed up."

Let's keep in mind Tyrone's observation is merely ANECDOTAL. I don't know if, in fact, schools in Minneapolis (or, more likely, just North Minneapolis) lack the biological science resources of other schools...namely, cool live animals. But it was interesting to me, how a random turtle with a cracked and healed up shell might reveal something which (if true) is very politically interesting.

Oh, by the way, Alexandra got Reggie to eat. Wax worms. He likes wax worms.

8 comments:

emma. said...

I'm glad Reggie found something to eat. I was going to suggest worms.
Reggie reminds me of a box turtle I once found in West Virginia. He shell was in tact but he was missing one leg - I assumed it was due to an unfortunate accident with a vehicle. This turtle, who never received a name, choose to live in the spot my father and I were camping. Every day when we would come back he would walk out from under our pop-up camper and I would feed him some worms left over from fishing. He really enjoyed the worms.. and nothing else. Unfortunately my father did not let me take the turtle home. Years later he mentioned that we should not have left him. It would have been better if he left that thought to himself.
I am excited for Reggie - I am slightly living vicariously through this event.

crazy white lady said...

Hall has a number of animals that come into it for observation during the school year. Each one stays for the time it needs to stay. Just thought you might like to know.

Your Eyedea said...

I had a box turtle growing up named Skipper Tom. He ate strawberries, LOVED em.... try that! (their onsale at rainbow) ;)

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

When I was in college, we went on a dorm retreat and almost ran over a turtle when driving into the campground. So we adopted him as the unofficial dorm mascot and named him "Petey."

Well, we couldn't take Petey out of his natural habitat, so we did the next best thing: a miniature golf course nearby went out of business and they had a giant fiberglass turtle. So a few of the guys took some bolt cutters and, um, "liberated" the turtle and brought him back to the dorm.

He was chained to the staircase on the 3rd floor and became our official dorm mascot until some punks on the 1st floor decided to take a sledgehammer to his shell. In return, we got keys to all the 1st floor rooms, stole their chair and couch cushions, soaked them in water, and left them outside on the coldest day of February.

The damage to Petey was irreparable, so we filled him with ice and used him as a cooler for be-, I mean soda, at our parties.

Anyway, that's my educational experience with turtles.

Kraft Foods sales rep said...

I'll bet Reggie loves peanut butter.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that turtles in captivity are most apt to eat people that don't believe "snitching" is an appropriate behaviour for neighborhood residents...

Patrick said...

Nice try promoting the stop snitching movement anon. But the truth is, more "we watch, we call" signs are going up every day. The stop snitching movement is getting squeezed out of NoMi.

Anonymous said...

My bad Patrick. I MEANT to say eat people that believe snitching is an inappropriate behaviour.....