When Son arrived in our family, he wanted pets. His previous homes had always had cats, dogs, alligators, hippopotami, razorback hogs, etc., so he wanted our home to turn into a menagerie. GPop has also always wanted a dog of some variety, as long as that variety is a Labrador retriever.
I, however, am allergic to animals of most varieties that have any sort of fur or feathers. After a couple of hours, even with loratadine tablets, I start to turn into the Incredible Dripping Nose, and I feel like I need to pull out my eyes to scratch behind them. Suffice to say, dogs and cats are out of the question.
Son's science teacher during the last school year had a variety of reptiles in his classroom, so we thought we'd look into a reptile of some sort as a pet we could all enjoy. Turtles were out, because they stink. Iguanas were out, because they get too big. Leopard geckos were out, because they can climb glass, and I have bad memories of caged pets escaping when I was a child. Snakes were out, because even the most enthusiastic herpophile can hardly call a snake "cuddly." I'm reminded of the Dorothy Parker poem, "Résumé."
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
After some research on Son's part, and some harrumphing on my part, we all settled on a baby bearded dragon. The little hatchlings are kind of cute, in a herpetological way, so it was fun to watch the little tyke scamper about and play little games in the sandy wonderland that was his terrarium. Oh wait, that was some other lizard in some alternate reality.
Bearded dragons are, as I've come to call them, the stoners of the lizard community. Most of the time, they sit quietly and stare at the walls, but if there's food to be had, they are quick to munch. We sometimes entertain ourselves by putting the plastic bug box containing crickets just outside the terrarium to watch the lizard get all worked up. I figure it makes him hungrier when we relent after about 15 seconds and give him his treats.
When the lizard came home, Son asked what we should name him (her?). I suggested "Lord Tiddlywink Whifflebotham." That went over like a lead balloon. Son decided that the bearded dragon should be named "Beardie." Or, if it turned out to be a girl, "Beardine."
Or, I suppose if it turned out to be a female impersonator, "Miss Beardilla Divine."
Lately, I've really started to appreciate Beardie's charms. He's pretty laid back, but he will occasionally just start to dart about and dance. Plus, he sometimes changes colors from light tan to black. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the color changes. I think he's just messing with us.
I'm going to propose that he get his Ph.D. and become Professor Beardon J. Beardie, of the Beard Institute of Beardology. I'll bet that, too, will be the aforementioned lead balloon.