Husband-head is learning college biology on the fly |

Husband-head is learning college biology on the fly

Fried Rice
Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Heidi Rice

“Look what I have!” Husband-Head said proudly when he got home the other day, holding up what seemed to be an empty test tube.

“I don’t know, an empty test tube?” I guessed.

“No, fruit flies!” he smiled. “I’ve got to find a place to keep them. I think I’m supposed to put them in the fridge.”

“Oh no you don’t, dude,” I warned. “You keep those suckers away from my wine. And, may I ask, why are you bringing home fruit flies, anyway?”

Husband-Head recently enrolled in a biology class at a local college, and apparently the fruit flies are part of a class experiment.

I never thought I’d see Husband-Head go back to school. But there he stood in the kitchen, on his first day with his backpack on, and carrying his little lunch box.

“Aren’t you going to walk me to the bus?” he asked with a smile.

Personally, I don’t recall ever bringing home fruit flies from school.

But Husband-Head was way into it, as he walked very carefully around the house, scoping out the perfect place for his new little friends. But he was confused about what temperature they needed to live in and how much sunlight they should have.

“I just know I’ve got to put them some place where you and the pets won’t knock them over,” he said. “I’ll get in big doo-doo if they die.”

He decided to call one of his classmates for advice.

“You don’t put them in the fridge. They have to be between 67 and 77 degrees,” his friend advised, and then laughed. “I would suggest that you put them on the nightstand on Heidi’s side of the bed.”

This, of course, was the same friend who sits next to him in class, which is not necessarily a good thing. One day, while talking about allergies, the professor related a story about a woman who was allergic to peanuts. He explained that the woman’s boyfriend had eaten peanuts, and when she kissed him, it was like kissing a peanut.

“Just to be clear, he said ‘peanut,'” Husband-Head hissed to his friend, and the two of them nearly fell over laughing.

“So what in the world are you going to do with the fruit flies?” I asked curiously as I peered into the test tube to look at the pin-head sized little bugs. “And how did you get them in there?”

Apparently, the process includes spitting on your finger, touching the fly and then shaking it into the test tube.

“But there was one girl in class that kept squishing hers,” he admitted.

This prompted several questions in my mind.

“How many are in there?” I asked.

“I have one male and four females,” Husband-Head informed me, “and eventually we’re going to breed them.”

This whole experiment was starting to sound really strange.

“How in the world can you tell the males from the females?” I demanded to know. “Do you look between their little fruit fly legs?”

Husband-Head explained that the males had a black spot on their belly.

“And the females are bigger than the males, just like the women in Wisconsin,” he added.

“How do you force the flies to breed?” I continued. “Do you give them little fruit fly aphrodisiacs? Or, what if they have a little fruit fly headache? Do you flunk the course?”

Which led to another question.

“And if you have one male and four females, does it turn into a fruit-fly orgy or what?” I speculated.

“They’re my ‘Sister Wives,'” Husband-Head laughed, referring to the relatively new reality show about a Mormon polygamist family that involves one husband and four wives. “But remember, don’t touch my flies.”

He was getting awfully protective over them, and I was starting to fear he was going to give them all names.

The morning after he brought the flies home, Husband-Head checked on them yet again and was delighted they were still alive.

“I am the Lord of the Flies,” he said, referring to William Golding’s famous book of the same name, and I half expected him to start beating on his chest.

The flies were starting to bug me (no pun intended), because Husband-Head wouldn’t let me open any doors or windows in the house in case it would be too cold for the little darlings. In fact, he wouldn’t even let me look at them.

So, a couple of days later it was time for him to take his beloved flies back to school and I was happy to see them go.

This was only the second week of class. If he comes home with a box of frogs next week, I’m going to be pissed.

“Fried Rice” appears every Friday. Heidi Rice is a freelance writer who lives in Rifle. Visit her website, for more columns and her book. Contact Heidi at

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