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A Classical Education

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Education, that was the key. Jedediah never was one of them smart fellas with schooling, not like the docents or the schoolmarms who brought their young pups by to get some learning. Sometimes he thought he ought to learn more. Here was a whole museum in front of him, full of history and knowledge. May as well improve himself, right? Night school, Gigantor called it.

Oh sure, Octavius came along for the ride most nights. Why, his education stopped over a thousand years before Jedediah's did, even if he could use big words like "circumlocution," which sounded kinda painful. He needed to brush off his brain cells as much as Jed did.

They stood together on a bench looking at the Giant Sequoia, and reading the plague. Jedediah rolled his eyes as he read which president they quoted. "That figures."

"Theodore did have his hands everywhere."

Jed gave him a sideways look. Octavius always came out with things that half sounded like his normal self-important stuff, and half sounded like he wanted a date. The same thing had happened when they'd toured the Classics statues and he'd introduced Jedediah to the statue of the god Priapus. Gigantor had come along, and had shown himself right out of the room again, coughing like he'd swallowed a bug. Even Jed knew Classics statues didn't always wear their loincloths. Friendly fella, that Priapus.

Jedediah guessed he could dish it out as well as his toga-clad friend here. "That there's the biggest log I've ever seen."

"It is mighty and large, and it lasted almost as long as the Empire."

"I hate to break it to you, but I think the tree here lived a lot longer than that."

They bickered through the spruce and fir. At the giant cactus display, Jedediah cocked his head and tilted way up. "I've seen many a cactus, but that's the longest thing I've ever clapped eyes on. It's in Arizona? Never made it out that way."

"This New World seems full of giants. I wish I might show you the Colossus of Rhodes. Truly it was larger even than these monsters."

The Hall of North American Mammals wasn't any better. Everything was huge and had hooves and teeth. "I remember these critters being smaller in my day."

They visited a temporary exhibit on Sigmund Freud a few nights later. "Does it occur to you both," asked the wax Freud bust, "why you might focus on the things that are large? Hm?"

Jedediah glanced at Octavius, who shrugged back. "You try being trapped in a world of giants. Octavius, mi amigo, some days I think you and me are the only normal ones in this whole looney bin."

"I see," said the Freud bust. "But what do you think about your mother?"

"Mother?" asked Octavius with wide eyes before Jed could drag him away.

They learned a lot on their walks. Some nights, though, some nights were just as good without a single walk. They'd climb down out of their dioramas as soon as the sun set, and they'd climb onto a bench. Any old bench would do. Those nights, they talked, well, all night long about what they'd learned so far. They'd quiz each other, and joke about the huge monsters because who came up with these things, right?

On the best nights they didn't talk much at all, and it turned out, those were the night he learned the most.