"These animals are making the ultimate sacrifice for you, to provide you with a better education. You need to treat them with respect."

I hear him say it again and again in my head and still I flash back to that moment where I motioned with a freshly killed quail at my lab partner.


that is just completely
inappropriate. I can't
swish swish
believe you.

It's the voice I hear as I try to hold on to a 35 pound carcass on a surgery table, trying not to drop her on her face into her clear synthetic casket. She still hits the ground.

Scalpels flash toward my hands, through skin and muscle and nerve and everything else that made this thing tick. I think about the pain of a nick covered in the natural exudates of a once-living creature. I think about needle stabs, and how they kept me from participating in activities I took for granted. I remember the feel of ticks across bare ankles after clearing soiled bedding out of a kennel. I think about my face against the shoulder of a terrified, ill animal and the way canines feel when they sink in to flesh and the sting of another booster. Here I am, risking life and limb so that I can pursue the dream of fevered young undergraduates the nation over. I made it, I'm here, and what's going to happen to me in the mean time?

I look across a field of abandoned, severed bodies at a boy with a pretty smile and lovely eyes and a stain across the front of his scrubs. With wet gloves and a meaningful smirk and something not quite love in the air, I say...

Do you ever just stop and look around... and realize how fucked up this really is?

But this is it. This is life. We talk about death and filth and cruelty at the dinner table. We know more about the things you never wanted to know than you can begin to imagine. Every single day we do things that are despicable, and we smile and we laugh, because this is it. This is what we are now. How many people like me turn back to literature and poetry and art at the end of the day? When it is all over, there will be people who donate their bodies to science. I'm not even through with my education, and I feel like I have already given my body, my mind and my soul.

How fucked up is that?