Thursday, 27 October 2011

Jefferson sloth

My Girl in Dublin's Natural History Museum, nicknamed "The Dead Zoo."
The Girl was enjoying her swivel chair. “These chairs are a great idea!” she said.

Do you know who got the idea for a chair that swivels around? I said. “Who?” she asked.

It was a man named Thomas Jefferson, I said. He was an inventor, and was one of the founders of the country I come from. He wrote the letter that declared us to be a new country, and he wrote it in a chair like that, that he built himself.

“I’m his biggest fan!” The Girl said.

Because of the chair? I asked.

“That, and because he must have been named after the Jefferson sloth!” she said. She loves sloths, and loves hearing about the big ones that were common in North America until humans arrived, the ones that could look in your upstairs window. We draw pictures together of the world as it was until recently – the sloths and the thylacines, the moas and the great eagles.

It’s even better than that, I said – he was a scientist, and the Jefferson sloth was named after him. She looked awestruck.

“He must have been amazing,” she said.

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