A man’s home is his castle — but sometimes the crocodile in the moat decides he wants to try out the bathtub instead.
At my day job working in Inventory Control, one guiding principle is “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
Too bad wild animals aren’t as easily pigeonholed as nuts and bolts.
A string of recent events helped me settle on this week’s tirade. My wife replaced the window screen that had been shredded by an impulsive raccoon. A bird kept flying down my mother’s chimney. Yet another (non-poisonous) snake slithered into our lives. A young opossum surprised us in the laundry room (thank goodness for stain-removing detergent!) and seemed to lament being part of a species that is so typecast. (“I’m tired of playing possum. When do I get a chance to play Othello?”)
Of course, we weren’t satisfied with this level of commotion, so my wife unsuspectingly opened the front door for Moggie the cat one fine evening, and he came bounding into the room with a live rabbit clenched between his teeth. (Apparently Moggie was trying to make some money on the side with a “hare-bnb” lodging venture.)
It could be worse. So far, the coyotes in our neck of the woods have stayed away, but only because we keep all those fake boxes of Acme anvils sitting on the front porch.
Perhaps we should’ve been prepared for this series of events by what happened at my son’s high school back in the winter.
It was woodland mating season and a buck deer apparently mistook his reflection for a romantic rival. (Speaking of possums, the buck seemingly heeded the words of comic strip character Pogo Possum: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”) He came charging across the street toward the school, smashed through the front door, galumphed through the hallways (tangled up in a garbage can) and exited via the back door. He was undoubtedly telling himself, “NEXT mating season I’ll just compete by using a disco shirt, a gold medallion and a cheesy moustache.”
The mommas of undomesticated animals seem to be sending the wrong message. (“You’re spending too much time with fresh air and sunshine. Why don’t you try chewing on some computer cables or something?”)
You’ll notice I haven’t even mentioned the mundane categories of pests such as rodents, spiders, ants, moths and ladybugs. Such critters can stir up some real moral dilemmas, as well as perplexing math problems. (“If mouse A is chewing south at one mile per hour and mouse B is chewing north at two miles per hour — is it still okay to eat the Cap’n Crunch in the middle of the bag?”)
I face a never-ending need for repellents, traps, crack sealant and the like. Or maybe I need to counter animal inclinations with an advertising blitz. Nature writers tout the splendors of the Great Outdoors, but the creatures that actually LIVE out there seem enamored of the Great Linen Closet or the Great Crawlspace.
After you get beaten down by the inevitability of varmints slipping through your defenses, you try too hard to look on the bright side. (“There are good bacteria. Maybe there are good rabid skunks.”)
Perhaps things will get better for me. And for that young thespian possum. (“I’m taking Othello on the road. On the road? No, wait…Aaaaaaaaahhhhh!”)