When my daughter was young, she had a pet hamster. She named him Wilbur. She would set Wilbur beside her while she watched cartoons on TV and play with him during the commercials. That is, if he didn’t sneak off while she wasn’t paying attention to him.
Now, hamsters are not known for their longevity. One day Rachael brought Wilbur to me and said something was wrong with him. He was stiff, cold and not breathing. Honey, I’m afraid Wilbur is dead.”
“No, he isn’t!” she protested.
“I’m pretty sure he is.” I replied.
“No, we have to take him to the doctor, she cried.
So we took him to a veterinarian.
The vet broke the news to Rachael. “Rachael, Your father is correct. It was Wilbur’s time to go, and he is no longer with us.” Then he said to me, “That’ll be $10 for the visit.”
Amid Rachael’s sobbing and disbelief, I asked, “You’re absolutely sure he’s gone?”
“Well, just a minute,” he said, and brought in a calico tabby. The cat licked Wilbur from head to toe, then lowered her head and gave a soft, “meow.” The vet then brought in a Golden Retriever. The dog sniffed Wilbur, then lowered his head and gave a soft, “woof.” “That’s conclusive, said the vet. “He’s definitely dead,” and added, “that will be $250 for the visit.”
“Now wait a minute,” I said, “It was only a $10 visit a minute ago.”
“Well, yes,” said the vet. “That was before you requested a cat scan and the lab test.”
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