Thursday, August 26, 2010

Of possums and men

I killed a possum yesterday morning.

Went into the garage and he was over in a corner. He either got in the night before we shut the doors or in the morning after we opened them.

I didn’t start out to kill him. I first tried to sweep him out the door with a broom with the expectation he would sulk or make for the woods. Unfortunately he felt possessive and started grinning and hissing. So I tried scooping him up in a dip net but he would have none of that.

Now my experience with possums as a boy was that when fronted they would sulk up and “play possum.” I use to catch them and take them to town where they would bring between 25 and 35 cents depending. Their favorite dens were underneath beech and oak trees. Pick up a couple of beer bottles besides the road on the walk into town for the deposit and I’d have the makings of a living large Saturday. Double feature, cartoon, a serial, popcorn and a big orange and maybe a Mars bar… Life was good.

But I digress.

Possum had, I decided, acted strangely. Animals that act strangely may have rabies. (I have been assured that he hadn’t acted strangely at all and that we haven’t had a case of rabies around here in anyone’s memories. But they hadn’t been around to vouch for his behavior.)

Anyway, I called the local health department and was transferred to the Rabies Control Officer at 11:30AM. Left a voice mail explaining what I had and requested a call back.

Left another voice mail at about 4:00PM.

At around 9:00AM the next day he called. Said I should take the carcass to a vet of my choice, have the head removed at my expense, place head in a container suitable for carrying to a lab and dispose of the carcass.

Was I speechless? Well, yes. For about 2 seconds. After listening to my extreme displeasure he gave me his boss’s number.

I called, got his voice mail, left a message.

I then took the carcass to the vet we use for our dog and cat. She removed the head, packaged same and I returned home.

I buried the headless body (nothing like acreage) and discovered that I had been directed via message from the boss to return the head to the vet.

So I did.

I also called the Rabies Control Officer, gave him the vet’s address and asked for a call back when he had the head. It’s now 9:32PM and I haven’t heard a thing.

You know, I couldn’t make this shit up.

And some people can’t figure out why some of us suffer extreme displeasure just thinking about bureaucrats.

Of well, as Scarlet opined, tomorrow is another day. Both of these two shall discover that old men have lots of time and know how to work their way up the chain of command.

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