After Five Years, I Think I Can Be Trusted With The Turtles AgainCommentary • Opinion • animals • ISSUE 36•27 • Aug 9, 2000 By Royce Mullins Royce Mullins Look, Mr. Budig, I'm going to lay all my cards on the table here. As you know, I've worked here at Metro Zoo for almost eight years. And in that time, I've largely been a model employee, arriving at work on time, uniform clean and pressed, and always completing my daily tasks in a manner that was satisfactory at worst. Yes, as we both know, there was that one unfortunate incident five years ago in the Reptile House. We certainly don't need to dredge up all the nasty details of that, as I think we both remember them well enough. But a lot of time has passed, and I feel strongly that I can be trusted with the turtles again. As I have tried to make clear on many occasions, that particular incident occurred during a difficult time in my life. I was going through a very messy divorce, one which cost me, among other things, my apartment and my car. I have spent several years in therapy and can unequivocally state that I am in good emotional shape and have come to terms with the major issues from my past. Also bear in mind that I have accepted my reassignment to Jungle World without complaint or incident, performing my duties in a largely exemplary fashion. And when you took me to task for my tendency to walk from Jungle World to the supply area via an extremely circuitous route that happened to take me past the Reptile House, I complied immediately and curbed that behavior. As you'll recall, I was very sad to have to leave the Reptile House and all my close friends who live there, but once you made your decision, I didn't challenge it. I'd like to think that doing so demonstrated professionalism and maturity on my part. You may also recall how I offered to personally apologize to every man, woman, and child who witnessed the incident in question. Both you and the police department strictly forbade it, but I would like it noted that I made the offer nonetheless. I believe that shows just how remorseful I was for what occurred, as did my offer to clean up the entire mess myself, on my own time and at my own expense. And, of course, most important of all, let me just say for the thousandth time that I never, ever meant to hurt even one of the zoo's wonderful, wonderful turtles. From the bottom of my heart, I mean that. Allow me to cut to the chase: After five years without incident, I wish to be reassigned to the Reptile House. My reputation precedes me in this matter, and I think it would be an ideal way for me to gain closure. I loved my work in the Reptile House, my background is geared toward the care of reptiles, and I feel that I can best serve you, the zoo, and the greater metro community if I am allowed to work with the reptiles–not just the beautiful turtles, whom I revere and whom it would injure me a thousand times over to bring any harm to, but the other reptiles, as well. You know, the lizards and whatnot. On a final note, I would also like to say that reptilian psychology is a dicey game at best and, quite frankly, there is nothing to suggest that Sheldon has any recollection of the incident, much less any lingering psychological trauma. If he's over it, why can't the rest of us be, too? I beg you, please let me go back to the Reptile House. I won't let you down this time. Promise.