The Ant in the Oatmeal
Did it swim when I poured water on it and stirred the pot? Did it die with its mouth open, gulping oatmeal it had unluckily chosen as a home?
We keep our oatmeal, supposedly safe from invaders, in the plastic bag it comes from the health food store in with a twister around it on a metal rack among pots, mostly large soup pots and a pasta kettle. I suppose the black, mid-size, luckless ant contorted his body to squeeze past the twister and landed there in an oatmeal daze: plentiful food—do ants even eat oatmeal?—but no way of escape until a large hand untwisted the bag. With a twist of fate, the hand measured a stainless steel one-third cup of oatmeal, unknowingly containing the ant, into a pan on the stove, added two-thirds cup water, turned on the flame, stirred, and there he was floating like a miserable hull, scrunched into smaller anthood than surely he had intended, if he had, indeed, planned to eat his fill daily of fresh, tasty oatmeal.
It was an ignominious end for he was dumped into the trash along with the contaminated oatmeal from the pan and the whole bag, wasted all for the greed or was it ant curiosity, of such a tiny critter who may not have been greedy at all, but simply hungry.
As the human who hastened his demise, I cast about for some meaning from all this. I’ve got nothing except that this morning I had Cheerios for breakfast.