As someone who teaches English as a second language, I can say with absolute certainty that “B is for Bat.” I am not talking about the sticklike object used to hit a baseball, I am talking about the funny looking animal of course. Since it isn’t one of the typical farm animals that children usually learn about, I am constantly amazed when children know “bat” and not “chicken.” And then I remember it is because “B is for Bat.” The inspiration for this post, however, is the family (herd? bushel? flock? According to google, it is actually a colony!) of bats that live in the tree outside my window. They are loud and terrifying and I am always afraid one is going to attack me when I am taking out the trash or something. I am sure they are harmless creatures, but nonetheless this post is dedicated to them in the hopes that they see me as an ally and stay away. So to prove my allegiance to their colony, here is a list of the most notable bat experiences in my life.
1) In 2007 my mom took me to Italy for a few weeks because she didn’t want to travel alone. (The joke is on her though because she infected me with the travel bug and now she hasn’t seen her lovely daughter in seven months.) Part of our trip was a week spent in a villa with family friends. It was located in the rolling hillsides of Tuscany, and yes, it was as beautiful and perfect as you could ever imagine. One night, however, we heard shrieking coming from upstairs. It turned out that we literally had a bat in our bell tower! It was the most cliche and wonderfully hilarious situation. The girls staying on the upper floor freaked out and ran downstairs. After the boys tried unsuccessfully to be macho and swat it out the window with a broom, we ended up locking it in. Everyone slept downstairs and we had to call someone the next day to remove it. Since it was daytime, the bat was sleeping and a lady came in and picked it up with her bare hands! She said it happened all the time. It makes me think Tuscany was the where the cliche originated. I would like to thank this bat for providing a comical anecdote to tell my friends and family when I returned, and to thank him for being a cliche and hanging out in the bell tower instead of my room.
2) Pretty much everyone has a childhood stuffed animal that they sleep with. Those of us who are animal lovers often have ten. While I have slept with many a plush animal over the years, there are two that have stood the test of time. One is a pig, but this isn’t about him. This is about Batty, the most lovable Beanie Buddy (A really big Beanie Baby) there ever was. Batty is quite the adventurer. He has been on many road trips, taken lots of rides in a washing machine, and even went to college (I am not going to feel embarrassed about taking him to college–90% of the girls in my freshman dorms brought stuffed animals, and so did some of the guys). He was too big to take abroad, but I look forward to reuniting with him.
3) Have you ever re-watched a movie from your childhood and realized you had no idea what it was about because you were too young? FernGully was one of my favorite movies from childhood, but back then I thought it was about fairies escaping loggers and some evil sludge. Now that I have watched it again, I can tell you that it is actually about much much more. I highly recommend it to those of you who haven’t seen it, (I’m fairly positive it was the inspiration for Avatar) as it sends a great message about preserving the environment. Anyway, Robin Williams voices a quirky bat in the movie named Batty (why I named my stuffed animal Batty perhaps?). Batty had escaped from a lab where humans used him to test cosmetics and possibly something to do with electricity (Batty had wires coming out of his head). He sings a wonderful rap song cautioning the fairies to stay away from humans. So to the bats outside my window, I assume you are as fabulous as Batty from FernGully and I promise I have never experimented or dissected anyone from your species. (If you want to watch the rap skip to 1:45 at www.youtube.com/watch?v=opOl17fNh1w and enjoy!)