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225) Own a microscope 20 Sep 2012

When we heard word that Toronto’s EfstonScience Superstore (the largest retailer of science and astronomy products in Canada) was having a closing-down clearance sale, we hoofed it all the way out to Dufferin and 401 to pillage and plunder.

I had expected a hoard of bespectacled Trekkie’s to contend with, retired high-school biology teachers, and brooding closet bomb-makers, but the store was relatively empty; most things had already gone. Had we waited a few days to visit we may have never scored the last remaining Celestron LCD Digital Microscope; it was their floor model, never before used, in perfect condition, half-price, SOLD to us.

We took it home, comfy in its hard-padded canvas case, and installed the scope on our kitchen counter. It came with a few slide samples: the leg of a housefly, the epidermis of an onion, the stem of cotton. We found other interesting things to add: a grain of salt, a strand of John’s hair, a potato chip.

In retrospect I knew this would be fun, but not nearly as engaging as it turned out to be. I think if everyone had microscopes permanently installed in their homes they wouldn’t need television sets anymore; it’s that kind of entertainment; the kind that can keep you searching and looking for hours.

But people want BIG entertainment these days: car crashes, siamese twins, broken marriages. You’ll find there’s just as much to be fascinated by in the leg of a housefly as the fingernail of Paris Hilton.