I’ve been informed that the iris (eyeball iris, not flower iris) is a muscle. My son, twelve, came home from school with his very own cow iris and cornea. It was a trophy from his science class dissection of a cow eyeball. My son is not squeamish. He takes after me in that respect, I like to think. He held it in his bare hands. He was really, really, excited. And a little disappointed that his lab partner got to keep the lens, having won it after a round of rock-paper-scissors. The lens is see-through and can magnify stuff. Way cool.
The dried out cow iris, over an inch in diameter, was placed on the kitchen counter while my son went into a detailed explanation of how it was acquired. Did you know one of the differences between cow irises and human irises is that cow irises are oval in shape where human irises are round? Now you know. Another eyeball difference is that cows have fewer eyeball muscles, giving the eye a more limited range of movement. That is why cows have to turn their heads back and forth to look around. (My son gave me a visual demonstration of this. The fact that he is almost 13 and he can still look cute imitating a cow is a testament to his charm.)
I was impressed with the extensive scientific vocabulary he was using. I was not so enamored with his description involving some sort of black substance that gushed out of the eye during the dissection. My son went on to inform me that “icky black liquid” (my term) should technically be referred to as the aqueous humour. That was the moment my husband walked into the kitchen, saw the eyeball piece on the counter and screamed like a girl. I guess he had already been debriefed on cow eyeball dissection terms earlier that day.
Now, when I use the phrase “screamed like a girl” I am referring to the nonsexist version of the phrase. I’m just saying his scream was high-pitched. I’m a girl - my voice is slightly higher pitched than most grown dudes’. Though, I wasn’t screaming. I think that’s pretty normal under the circumstances. Just because my husband is half Italian and the phrase like a girl has a different meaning to his machismo inner-self. Well, that’s just gravy.
He also danced around yelling “Not in the kitchen! Not in the kitchen! I already told you, not in the kitchen!” My son and I stared at him. I won’t tell you whose side I was on, but let’s just say it wasn’t my husband’s. I had a sudden desire to buy him a Big Bang Theory BAZINGA T-shirt off Amazon and punch him in the forehead. He should know better than to mess with the resident science geeks.
“It’s on a napkin,” boy child explained calmly.
“Don’t worry, I won’t accidentally throw it in the stir fry,” I said soothingly.
Neither of us was able to achieve the hoped-for rational response from my spouse. He really was squeamish. Like, totally grossed out. I resisted the urge to chase him through the house with the eyeball piece. I’m the middle of five kids. Yes, I’m fully grown, but those types of impulses don’t just go away with age. People don’t give me enough credit for the self-control I exhibit on a daily basis. Not near enough credit.
Instead, my son had to removed the eyeball piece from the kitchen. It’s now on my dining table. I’m not sure if I should technically call it a centerpiece or a cat toy. My husband hasn’t figured out where it went yet. But I’m sure we’ll all know the exact moment he finds it.