By Gunther Hausman
DEERFIELD—For the past week, Joe Wagner’s third period Honors Biology class has been dissecting fetal pigs as part of their study of Anatomy and Physiology. While this unit is always a class favorite, one student seemed to be enjoying it a lot more than the other students.
Usually quiet in class, Sophomore Sam Merki is known for being an outsider. He has few interests and participates in no extra-curricular activities. He describes himself as “a misunderstood Twilight fan who will change the world. You’ll see. You’ll all see.”
Although he is usually detached, this past week he seemed more engaged in his own education and was eager to learn and slice up his pig.
He really seemed to be having a great time during the dissection. It was unusual,” says Mr. Wagner. “At one point was chanting and coloring the pig’s hooves black. I tried to stop him but he looked at me with his blood-hungry eyes and I backed off. What a disturbed child.”
Sam is usually a poor student, doing just well enough to pass the class, but this unit was different. He was always one step ahead of the procedure. Classmate and lab-partner David Schermerhorn recalls his aptitude during the dissection. “Before the lab even said to remove the brain, he already had it out of the skull and was smelling it. Before we were supposed to, Sam had the intestines unraveled and was making them into bracelets.”
“Sam carved a star into the pig without even being asked. Come to think of it, I’m not sure he was supposed to do that,” Schermerhorn adds.
For the first time all year, Sam asked to stay after class to get ahead on work. Mr. Wager reluctantly allowed it. When he came back an hour later, he was foaming at the mouth and his pig was in a vinegar bath with pins sticking out of the eyes and abdomen. Sam claimed the pins were there so it would be easier to identify the structures the next day. He justified the vinegar bath by asking, “Can you imagine how painful it would be if that pig was alive? Imagine the squealing.”
On the last day of the dissection, Merki was heard making squealing sounds while performing the dissection. Once the lab was over, he asked to bring the pig home with him to learn more about the pig’s internal systems, especially the one with the blood. Sam had become quite attached to the pig and gave him the name “Filthy Disgusting Swine Junior” and would not take ‘no’ for an answer. Luckily his teacher was terrified of him.
Mr. Wagner allowed him to continue the dissection in the social worker’s office.
By Gunther Hausman