Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In remembrance of the little things

Today I attended the funeral of an inflatable dolphin named Vince! (yes, the exclamation point is a part of his name). Vince! hung proudly in the laboratory bench next to mine for several years after arriving to the laboratory as a bonus gift from a vendor. However, last Sunday, Vince! suffered an untimely death when he sprung a leak and completely deflated.

From the day he arrived, Vince! quickly developed a personality and a life of his own as each of us incorporated his presence into our daily laboratory experience. To some people, Vince! was a pirate that protected the bench against inflatable dinosaurs (also a gift from the vendor - what a great sense of humor they have). Others gave him high fives and plotted to steal him for their own laboratory while we were at group meeting. My boss wasn't really sure what to make of the giant dolphin hanging from the laboratory's ceiling, and generally ignored Vince! (except for when they bumped heads - Les is tall, after all). For me, Vince! was a silent reminder to always find fun in my work.

I know the concept of a funeral for an inflatable toy is completely ridiculous on some levels (okay, maybe on MANY levels) - my thesis hasn't completely taken away my sanity, just partially. But there was something really nice about all of us gathering outside by the Biopond to pay tribute to one small thing that made our stressful life as graduate students and post-docs a bit more manageable, even if the service was mostly in jest.

A few photos from our memorial:

Lee, Goutham, and I act as pall-bearers as we all make our way to the Biopond.

Vince!'s final resting place, the Biopond.

Vince! slowly sinks to the bottom of his new home (don't worry - we did actually remove him from the Biopond after the service was over and dispose of him in a way that was friendlier to the environment).

Lee gave a very moving speech, though most of us did have trouble keeping a straight face after realizing that we were in fact giving a public funeral to a plastic inflatable toy.

1 comment:

Jen LaPierre said...

This just made a great start to my day! Love it!