Dry cleaning

Clemson University student Nathan Weaver holds one of the fake turtles he used in his experiment.

At least I’m not the kind of person who sees a turtle crossing the road and swerves to hit it. (Ref: AP news article.) In all honesty, though, it would be more accurate for me to say that I’m no longer such a person.

When I was a kid, there was a place in my neighborhood where dime-sized frogs, babies probably, swarmed across the ground each spring. We called them peepers, I think. Whatever the name, my friends and I would scoop them up and hurl them against hard surfaces, killing them. For fun.

To recap, I killed God knows how many tiny, defenseless baby animals. For fun.

Year after year.

And then I moved up the food chain.

To cats.


Whenever Manchurian candidate Raymond Shaw’s former fellow prison camp inmates are asked what they think about him, a blankness passes over their faces and they say, “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.” They say this even though they’ve seen Shaw kill other prisoners without provocation. As another character in the movie says, their brains have been not washed, but dry cleaned.


Most of us don’t have access to dry cleaning service of this sort, so all we can do is change, or try to change, and hope for the best.