I loved my ant farm, or I should say my many ant farms, because I had to keep replacing them when the ants died. This, I assumed, was my fault – maybe I hadn’t followed Uncle Milton’s instructions carefully enough; maybe I just needed to try again, do everything exactly right this time, so the ants would have more ants and I could keep watching them forever.
It was so thrilling when they first arrived, the thought that I could just sit there and watch my ants busily burrowing their tunnels, keeping house – The Borrowers, albeit less evolved, come to life; and it was so wrenching when they died, curled up in tunnels their still-living brothers avoided.
Now I learn, from Uncle Milton’s obituary of all places, that it wasn’t my fault at all, but the basic concept. There was no Queen. Why? Because, for some very obscure reason, our Federal Government doesn’t allow Queen Ants in the mail.
And now I feel even worse about all those dead ants, working and working in their tunnels for no purpose. Maybe they died of broken hearts.
It’s enough to make me want to join the Tea Party.