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2005-03-13 | 10:07 p.m.

This afternoon we were having a cram session for the girls before tomorrow's Nature Bowl. We were groping around for a definition of species and Bonnie said, "What are we, Homo erectus?" I said, "No, we're Homo sapiens sapiens. We got an extra sapiens somewhere along the line." The girls had no idea what we were talking about. I tried to explain. "Homo habilis," I said. Bonnie giggled. "You remember. That's handy man. James Taylor wrote a song about him."

"He did?" Bonnie said, playing along.

Criminy started to sing a song about a handy man, which was not the James Taylor song, but one she made up. It bugs me when she does that.

"Don't do that, Cri," I said. "Stop."

"Homo Erectus walked upright," I continued. Bonnie was staring into her lap, giggling. The girls kept looking between us, trying to figure out what was so funny.

"She's laughing because I'm saying 'homo,'" I said. Bonnie started giggling again. "The word can also be used a slur against a gay person."

"It's not that funny; it's just the way Annabel says it," Bonnie said.

"She's not used to hearing me say it, I guess." I was a little baffled, to be honest. But Bonnie could not stop giggling every time I said it.

What is wrong with the way I say homo? Homo. Ho-mo. I don't hear anything.

Anyway, I've learned a lot about wetlands. I came up with an acronym to describe the characteristics of wetlands:

S stands for hydric SOILS (1)
W stands for land that's WET (2) all or part of the time
A stands for ANIMALS (3)
M means make that MANY types of animals, not just a few
P stands for water-loving PLANTS (4), like tules and cattails

Man, I wish I could have had this much fun in fourth grade the first time around.

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