Not long ago, Luca saw me forcefully stomp on a snail (that was missing half it’s shell).
I made it quick, because the thought of suffering, in creatures big and small, makes my heart heavy.
“Why did you just step on that snail” he asked.
“Because, I wanted to put it out of its misery,” I told him.
It would have been much easier had it ended there. But, of course, it didn’t, because he’s five and has a mother who Googles stuff like, “Why do Mockingbirds sing?” and “Do squirrels mind the rain?”
A million questions, that kid and his mom have.
I explained to him, “Well, it’s like when we come across a roach that’s had a run-in with the stuff the bug-man sprays, and I stomp on it. I mean, even though I’m terrified of roaches and can’t stand them, there’s one thing I can stand even less: watching them suffer.
This answer seemed to suffice and, thankfully, didn’t evolve into a conversation about death. Because, last time that happened, it spiraled into an hour long conversation that had me answering questions like, “So, there’s cricket heaven and then there’s roach heaven, right?”
But, just as I was patting myself on the back for explaining misery, pain, and suffering so well, I heard a loud stomp behind me.
I turned to see that Luca had just stomped on his own snail, only this snail was perfectly healthy. I was puzzled because he seemed so pleased about it, which isn’t like my gentle lover of life at all.
“Luca! Why would you do that?”
“Because I wanted to put him out of his miserable, mommy!”
Yeah, about that pat on the back.