You should hear the guys at the snooker club. What’s that boy of yours doing nowadays? Still messing about with those worms?
The fact that people back away from me uncomfortably bothers me less and less as I grow older. People never really were my thing anyway. My colleagues at the Institute call me Early Bird behind my back. I don’t mind. I don’t care.
Helminthology is a gratifying profession. Virtually nobody knows what it is, which has the advantage I’m never without a topic at parties. I am my own conversation piece. The only drawback is that people have a tendency to edge away from me when they find out a helminthologist occupies himself with worms. As if I’m dirty. Or dangerous. I rarely go to parties by the way.
I rarely get invited.
When I was a little boy, my mother used to warn me about dog shit and dead animals. Dog shit was dirty, dead animals were dangerous. The former I could understand, the latter I could not. Dead animals can’t bite you. I asked my father, who had an aviary and was accustomed to dead birds, what it was about dead animals t…