DON’T ASK WHY

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DAVID VOGEL
As a writer, there are times when I just can’t take it anymore. Times when I can only let something go on for so long without feeling compelled to lash out against it in my column-spewing venomous saliva all over every word and wreaking havoc on the rest of the newspaper page.

Fortunately, this isn’t that time. In this column I am going to talk about my family’s latest venture to Oklahoma.

(I apologize to everyone who just got the theme from “Oklahoma”-the one that goes “Ooooooooooook, Lahoma”-stuck in their heads. It happens to me every time.)

Anyway, for me, (“…where the wind goes sweeping down the plains…”) a trip usually starts at least a week in advance, when I start going through everything that I need to take.

I am anything but a light traveler. My problem is, my mind analyzes every possible scenario that I may go through when away from home. So I end up taking about everything but the kitchen sink-although I do bring along a bottle of Drano.

I would probably be prepared in the event that America sinks, by having one of those inflatable duckies on hand.

Thankfully, all of my stuff fit into the car, although dad had to steer while running along outside the vehicle.

Another problem with traveling is finding a temporary home for all my pets. I own about 80 percent of the animals in the house. Grandma could take the parakeet, the next-door neighbor could feed my outdoor turtles and the cat, and the neighbors across the street kept my inside turtle.

However there was one pet left: Slippers.

Slippers is a Pomeranian, which means that anything she comes in contact with automatically becomes covered in long, white fur, causing the victim to look like the Abominable Snowman from the 1964 movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

This was a problem, as Slippers got to go to Oklahoma with us.

As you probably guessed, this fact raised a whole other issue.

Whenever Slippers is in the car and we pull up to a window, it is usually a bank or a frozen custard joint. This means she usually gets a doggie treat or a “pup cup.”

Unfortunately, the road to Oklahoma consists of a lot of toll booths-my motto for this trip was, “A penny saved is a penny in dad’s toll-booth fund.”

Needless to say, Slippers didn’t know the difference, so she got very excited each time we pulled up to a booth, causing white fur to cover all of us.

At that point, I wanted to jump into a ditch, but I knew I’d just spring back up because bumbles bounce….

Once in Oklahoma, the trek to Tulsa became a little more interesting, as Oklahoman highways consist of helpful signs, such as “Never drive into smoke,” and “Drive friendly.”

After arriving in Tulsa, we stayed with some friends who live in the middle of a sea of housing developments. In Tulsa, housing developments are springing up faster than the bumps on Wile E. Coyote’s head after an ACME anvil falls on him.

One of the more exciting things we did in the Potholder (or something like that) State was visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. The Oklahoma Aquarium is a large building that consists of a lot of fish.

Apparently, some sort of law states that when visiting an aquarium, you must always be behind a group of field-tripping third graders, whose sole function of communicating with each other is by pointing in a random direction and screaming, “OH MY GOSH!”

Of course, they are all in single file, which makes it practically impossible to run to the head of the line and stay in front of them.

But in the interest of not sounding like a complete party pooper, I will note that the aquarium featured some very interesting exhibits.

One of the most exciting was the part where you can get a long plastic stick and some sort of raw meat and dip it into a pool of sting rays. The idea wasn’t to feed them, but to have them jump out of the tank and splash you.

But the highlight of the aquarium was the Shark Adventure room, where you had the opportunity to walk through an underwater viewing tunnel and wet your pants.

The wet-your-pants part comes in because there are huge Bull Sharks and Lemon Sharks swimming right next to you!

According to the aquarium’s Visitor Guide pamphlet (of course they have a pamphlet), the tank contained the largest Bull Sharks in captivity.

Thanks to the guide at the shark exhibit, I did learn some valuable information, such as that he wasn’t really the shark guide at this aquarium, but that the real guide was in the hospital.

The Oklahoma Aquarium also featured “the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of antique fishing tackle.”

Whoopee.

The museum consisted entirely of fishing hooks that were tacked onto the walls and any other vertical surfaces that they could find.

Of course, this room led to a lot of sarcastic puns, such as “it really hooked us” or “it was really alluring” or “boy, that was a big job to tackle.”

But the Visitor’s Guide argued that it was a visitor favorite!

Other than the aquarium, our vacation consisted of a lot of sleeping, malling, Cartoon Networking and eating.

Which is good, because I’m running out of space to rant.

Now about those Michael Jackson trials….

* * *

UFO: Thanks to the Oklahoma Aquarium Visitor’s Guide pamphlet, I was provided with a whole boatload of UFOs for this week. Here are a few that caught (ha ha) my attention:

— Giant Kelp can grow as much as 3 feet in a single summer day!

— Horseshoe Crabs have blue blood. Scientists use their blood to test medicines for harmful bacteria.

— Shark skin is made of tiny teeth-like scales, called dermal denticles. These “skin teeth” make sharkskin feel like sandpaper.

— The male seahorse is the only male in the entire animal kingdom to have a true pregnancy.

Don’t ask why.

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