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his is what it looks like when I eat crow—figuratively, of course.

Marcel told us he planned to make a mask to accompany his first book report for middle school. He read Ray Bradbury‘s The Martian Chronicles. The mask would be his artistic interpretation of those worn by the ranks of Bradbury’s Martians, inadvertently decimated by colonists’ stupid chicken pox.

Marcel’s plans for the piece were inspiring. Thirty-six hours before it was due, however, when the ‘mask’ was a piece of cardboard cut out of a flattened and forgotten box with a dead spider stuck to the corner of it (“This spider is freaking me out,” Marcel informed me), I had my doubts about how effective this final product was going to be and told him as much.

My skepticism was met with a creative burst, fueled by gold paint, a broken mirror and the delight most children take in proving a parent wrong.

This is what went in with the report today. On the back is an extended series of symbols Marcel rendered to represent the tragic arc of Martian existence after humans made themselves at home there. Seriously.

Eating crow never looked so good.