A conversation while driving:
Elder offspring: On library day this week, I got a book called Endangered Desert Animals. Desert animals are really cool.
Dr. Free-Ride: What do you think is coolest about desert animals?
Elder offspring: They can go for a long time without drinking any water at all. Some of them get their water by munching on tasty cactus flowers.
Dr. Free-Ride: That’s true, animals who live in the desert need to be able to get what they need from the desert, and there isn’t much water there. I think I remember, when I was about your age, reading about kangaroo rats living in the desert. They have to get all their water from the seeds they eat, and if I remember correctly, their pee has so little water in it that it comes out as crystals.
Elder offspring: Weird!
Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah.
Dr. Free-Ride: Wait, are bandicoots really desert animals?
Elder offspring: Yeah, didn’t you know that?
Dr. Free-Ride: I guess I shouldn’t be getting my animal facts from video game commercials.
Elder offspring: (softly) No, you really shouldn’t.
We pass a gas station with a large picture of a camel on a sandwich board.
Elder offspring: Hey look! A camel store!
Dr. Free-Ride: They’re not actually selling camels. They’re selling cigarettes.
Elder offspring: (in disbelief) Cigarettes?!
Dr. Free-Ride: I know! Why would they use a noble beast like the camel to sell stinky cigarettes?
Elder offspring: Well, camel urine is pretty smelly. (Thinks for a moment.) I’d like to get a camel.
Dr. Free-Ride: Oh really? You know we don’t have room for a camel. Where would you keep it?
Elder offspring: Of course I’d keep it in the desert.
Dr. Free-Ride: You have some desert I don’t know about?
Elder offspring: I’d keep my camel in the Australian outback.
Dr. Free-Ride: That’s pretty far away. How are you going to get there to feed your camel?
Elder offspring: The camel will be able to find its own food.
Dr. Free-Ride: So, in what sense is this going to be your camel?