Adventures in Ethics and Science

Dr. Free-Ride: C’mon and get out of bed. We have to leave soon.

Younger offspring: My eyes are watery.

Dr. Free-Ride: Eyes will do that sometimes.

Younger offspring: Are my eyeballs always wet?

Dr. Free-Ride: Pretty much, yeah.

Younger offspring: Are my eyeballs always squishy?

Dr. Free-Ride: Uh, I guess they are, but I’d rather not check if it’s all the same to you.

Younger offspring: But if I close my eye and press on my eyelid with my finger, my eyeball feels kind of squishy.

Dr. Free-Ride: Sure, but you wouldn’t want to press so hard that you actually squished your eyeball.

Younger offspring: No, I wouldn’t press that hard. I don’t think I could see through my eyeball if I squished it.

Dr. Free-Ride: You know, even talking about whether you could squish your eyeballs makes me kind of uncomfortable.

Younger offspring: Really, I won’t squish it. But I’d still be able to see out of the other eye.

Dr. Free-Ride: But you want both your eyes to work well. Otherwise, say goodbye to stereoscopic vision.

Younger offspring: What?

Dr. Free-Ride: You know how, in Futurama, Leela has only one eye? Because she only has one eye, she has problems with depth perception, and it’s hard for her to catch a ball or do things like that.

Younger offspring: There’s an episode where she gets two eyes and looks kind of normal.

Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah, but I’m pretty sure that the second eye was only cosmetic. She couldn’t actually see through it, so it didn’t do anything to improve her vision.

Younger offspring: She looked better with one big eye anyway.

Dr. Free-Ride: I agree.

Younger offspring: [Younger offspring’s first grade teacher] said if you stick a pencil into your ear too far, you could poke out your eyeball.

Dr. Free-Ride: Um, I think the more immediate worry if you stick a pencil in your ear is that it would puncture your eardrum.

Younger offspring: But really, look (tracing the trajectory from ear to eyeball on the cheek), a pencil is long enough to go that far if you’re pushing hard enough.

Dr. Free-Ride: OK, you have persuaded me of the possibility, but we are not going to do an experiment to find out! Keep the pencils out of your ears, OK?

Younger offspring: Of course.


  1. #1 Jordan, FCD
    November 30, 2007

    Woohoo! A Futurama reference!

  2. #2 J-Dog
    November 30, 2007

    Take Home Lesson: Sometimes Science Is Scarry!

  3. #3 pelf
    November 30, 2007

    It starts to get really scary when a child begin to say things like inserting a pencil into his ear, isn’t it?

    The thoughts of it is enough to send shivers down my spine!

  4. #4 brook
    December 1, 2007

    2 eyeball stories:

    My kids are always happy when we slaughter the year’s livestock. Not only does it mean yummy meat again, but there are all these cool organs to play with. Hearts, lungs, bladder and best of all eyeballs. One lens and everything is upside down, 2 and you’ve got a telescope. Sheep and cow have different focal ranges but are more similar to each other than they are to a pig. The lining of the eyeball has an amazing irridescent quality. Yes, most of your eyeball is filled with this jelly like goosh.

    At work I got called to do a stat draw on an 8yo. Kids can be quite random in the reaction to needles so I always take the time find out what they know and what their prior experience(s) have been. I ask the kid if he knows what’s going to happen “Yeah,” very matter of factly “you’re going to take some blood so we can find out if I have cancer.” Gulp. A little less assuredly kiddo continues “Are you going to take the blood from my eyeball?”

    “No. There are no good blood getting veins in your eyeballs. Even if there were I’m not allowed to take blood from your eyes. I’m going to take it from this nice big vein in your arm.”

    If looks could kill big brother would be burning right now.

    Definitely no pencils in ears or eyes or noses or anyplace else besides hand, when writing or pencil box when not.

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