Friday, September 21, 2012
The Problem with Stiffy
Is it wrong to treat God's tiny creatures with disdain?
What if those same tiny creatures insist on defecating in the shoes you leave outside the front door, or in your letterbox and on your windscreen? What if they leave a carpet of 'calling cards' so thick on your newly laid lawn that you can't actually see your newly laid lawn?
I, once upon a time, was a friend of the possum. No longer. Those little rats on steroids have met their match. And on a recent Saturday, one of them met their maker, right here on my front verge.
We found Stiffy (as he came to be known, after the rigor mortis had set in) in an eternal slumber outside our house, basking in the sunshine. Evidently, he had come off second best with a passing Michelin tyre the previous evening and some kind soul had popped Stiffy into the greenery. This is not the first time one of our park friends had come a cropper. Only last year we found a pal of Stiffy's propped up in the gutter holding a can of beer. I thank the passing punter who, on their way to the 1.50 at Randwick Racecourse, had taken the time out to squeeze a half-full VB into the possum's paws and set him on a jaunty angle - the amusement factor did not go unnoticed.
But back to most recent events. The Youth were the first to discover old poss and were none too happy to find Stiffy oozing his guts out all over our agapanthus. After checking for signs of life with a carefully placed Dunlop Volley, it was confirmed that our furry friend was, indeed, cactus.
The next job, of course, was how to be rid of this festering ball of fuzz. The Youth came up with all manner of inventive disposal methods including immolation, bagging up and taxidermy. The more mature of us discounted all these juvenile methods of eradication and decided on natural decomposition.
However, I did not necessarily want old poss to be decomposing at MY house. A rather malodorous and undecorous affair, to be disintegrating right there for all the world to see.
My dear brother, who happened to be visiting on the morning, drew the short straw and was elected to play undertaker. We are talking here of a grown man who has a proclivity towards fainting and vomiting at the sight of gore. However, today he seemed unfazed by Trichosurus vulpecula splayed out on the grass.
Donning a pair of disposable latex gloves he plucked the coagulated fluff ball from the undergrowth and hoiked him in a most splendid arc (see picture) over the four-lane road and into the arms of a waiting Algerian oak tree on the other side of the fence.
We bid a fond adieu to our rigid friend as he found his final resting place, back amongst his 'peeps'.
And later, sipping on a herbal tea, we couldn't help but nod in agreement with Charles de Leusse's observation that Death is a good Hotel: you are a guest at any time.