Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why Did the Possum Cross the Road?

When you think of the South, you may think of things like roadkill and rednecks, slow drawls and slower people, but for those readers who aren't Southern or who haven't had the pleasure of visiting this great region, I'd like to be the person who turns around any misconceptions you may have about my corner of the world.

However, I'm not going to be doing that today. Yep, here I sit: a Southerner who is writing about roadkill. Now before you stop reading, this is not going to be a recipe post--or even a food post for that matter--regarding the finer points of roadkill preparation and cooking. Contrary to popular belief, just because I'm from the South doesn't mean I partake in highway delicacies. Nope, this is a post about the psyche of the roadkill...or rather, the psyche of the animal before they became roadkill.

My husband and I had a very interesting and engrossing conversation on this subject the other night. At least I thought it was interesting and engrossing, and now you must be subjected to it, whether you like it or not.

The conversation was sparked by a random thought from Jeremy. To set the scene, we were driving to my parent's house for dinner. The road we travel is a winding, scenic "country road" with equal parts woods and pastures and typically lots of critters. I was in the passenger seat writing random notes for my novel. Out of nowhere, Jeremy says: "You know what I wonder? I wonder if birds have this elaborate society where the young boy birds challenge each other to dive in front of cars?"

I assume a bird flew out in front of the car and that's what sparked this random thought, but I wouldn't be surprised if this popped into his mind out of nowhere. My man is randomly brilliant, and he thinks all the time. Anyway, I looked up from my note-taking and said the first thing that popped into my fiercely feminist mind: "Why would only the boy birds dive in front of cars?"

I'm sure he thought, "oh, crap." He kept his eyes glued to the road. "Because that seems like something young boys would do."

"Girls would do it, too." I shot back. "There's such thing as tom boys and tom birds. If I was a bird, I'd totally do that."

I imagine at this point he thought it better to change the subject. "Forget birds. I wonder what the heck squirrels are thinking when they run out into the road? I mean, squirrels are crazy. I'll bet they go out into the road based on a dare from other squirrels."
"Hey, y'all! Watch this!"
We progressed to discuss the fact that squirrels were probably like the Jackass guys. They probably say to their squirrel friends, "Hey, watch this!," and stupidly run into the road for kicks, playing that dangerous game of dodgeball with a car. But the thing that gets me about squirrels is how they run out in front of you and then change their minds. It's like they run into the road, totally freak out when they realize they're in the middle of the road, and then try to turn around and go the other way. Half the time, if the freakin' squirrel would just keep going in the same direction, it wouldn't get hit. And I hate to admit it, but I'm one of those drivers who will slow down and wait for the squirrel to make up it's dang mind. I know some people who just keep going, and if they hit it, they hit it. I like animals too much to be that person though.

In spite of the daredevil nature of the squirrel, they are not the most commonly spotted roadkill in my neck of the woods. Nope, that coveted award goes to the possum (and no, I do not spell possum with the "o" even though it comes up as misspelled on my spell check).  The hubby and I decided that possums probably don't have a good reason for crossing the road, but because they're so slow, they have the misfortune of being tragic victims of death by automobile. And it's sadder still because possums get such a bad rap. Sure, they aren't the most attractive animals in the world. Sure, their tail makes them look like a giant rat. Sure, they carry diseases and are as mean as snakes. Sure, they hiss wildly at you if you ever get near them. Wait, where was I going with this?
Cute and slow and misunderstood.
So, there you have it. A peak inside one of mine and Jeremy's deep philosophical conversations. A look into the complex mind of a Southern lady. A study on the intricate decision-making skills of suicidal animals.

By the way, do you have any theories on why the possum crossed the road? And why is that dang joke about a chicken? I've never seen a chicken cross the road.


  1. lol....boy, I just had to zip up my lips to keep from saying anything about those comment "Jesters"; for now, I'll behave.

    Last evening, at my hub's sportsmen's club meeting, I had this same discussion with a few of the members there..about Possums being the dumbassses of the wild animal world. These critters make it a point to sit by the side of the road and RUN in front of vehicles...splatttt!

    While Possums have great hearing, their eyesight is awful; that could be the reason why they commit Possumcide so frequently. They hear you but can't see you so, what the heck, they just run like the blind men they truly are!

    So, in effect, Possums themselves are "Jesters" of another sort; except they don't leave comments on your blog that say..."Love your blog...follow me back at"

    Have a lovely, road-kill free, day!


  2. HA! I mean, really? I think my first mistake is linking up with any Hop that is not FTLOB hosted. I must be attracting these jesters. But honestly, I don't think it's too much to ask that you only follow blogs that genuinely interest you. Or maybe it is, I don't know. Poor dumb possums.

    By the way, I totally checked out I'm going to follow them. Cross your fingers they follow me back. If they're cool, they totally will.

  3. I mean, right? Don't be jealous. Not everyone can have such deep, intellectual conversations. We're speshul.

  4. Love it! You all sound like me and my hubs. We have some doozy conversations also, like the one about sending me to a taxidermist if I die so he can prop me up in the corner.

  5. Sadly, I can relate to such a conversation. *sigh* I can't be snarky, as we have done the same thing. Not the exact same thing, but random weird thoughts out of nowhere.
    Now every time I see a squirrel dodging in the road I'm going to wonder if it was on a dare.

  6. Some very good points there!! I am amused at the thought of squirrels freaking out in the middle of the road!! I am imagining them shouting "Argghhh!!" While not knowing which way to go haha! Bless them!!

    Oh, I also slow down for animals etc. I get annoyed when birds just hop about, it's like they think the pedestrian is always right. Silly birds!

    Just stopping by from FTLOB!

  7. I'm not going to lie, thought it was going to be a recipe at first! haha, just kidding. I would love to see me some squirrel version of Jackass! And possums, cute?! Not when they hiss at you, scar-ee!

  8. this made me giggle and miss south carolina. When I met my husband he had a family of possums taking up home in his sun porch. Finally animal control escorted them back to the wild

  9. are an amazing writer! I love it! Your posts area always so entertaining!!


  10. This gave me a good chuckle, thank you! Now, every time I see an animal dart in front of my car, I'm going to be wondering what they're thinking.

    Following you now from the Crazed Fan Weekend Blog Hop. When you get a chance, stop by and say hi --

    By the way, I love the name of your blog!

  11. Too cute : D

    Stopping by from the Crazed Fan Weekend Blog Hop as well - if you have a spilt second stop by and visit me at WynnieBee. Following by way of GFC now.

  12. I don't want to admit it, but I kind of like opossums. They scare me and warm my heart all at the same time :)

  13. I'm totally scared of possums! One time my elderly uncle got mad at my grandmother and threw a possum in the kitchen - we liked to have never got that possum out of the house!

  14. @Debbie: Ha! I love it...and that's not such a bad idea. I wonder if my hubby would go for that ;)

    @Bernie: These kinds of random conversations are the ones that tell us this is DEFINITELY true love, right?

    @Missy: I know what you mean. Birds sometimes act like they may be taunting us, saying "you won't hit me! you won't hit me!" in a sing-songy voice.

    @Tex: I know! My neighbor caught a possum when I was twelve or thirteen. I remember him baring those sharp teeth at me from inside of that still gives me nightmares!

    @Ms. Sarah: On his sun porch? Wow. We had a lone possum find its way onto our carport once. I thought my mom would have a heart attack before we were able to scare the thing away.

    @Toni: Thank you so much! Coming from such a great blogger, I take that as a high compliment!

    @A Hootie Hoot: Thanks for stopping by! Just remember, those squirrels are doing it on a dare ;)

    @WynnieBee: Thanks for the visit!

    @Katty: I kind of feel the same way. I have a hard time not liking any animal to be honest. Even possums can be cute...and yes, sometimes scary!

    @Deborah: Dang! He must've been pretty mad. I can just picture a possum in the kitchen and all y'all struggling to get it out of there!

  15. what a fun conversation to recount and let your readers in on!! :)

  16. I think that possums are probably just the most depressed of all the animals and therefore - commit suicide the most often. I mean... it's tuff being that ugly - people mistaking you for rats and what-not all the time.

    So... that's my theory - possums are depressed and suicidal. We need a possum helpline. And possum happy pills.

  17. Poor, poor possums..I agree with Heather. I think that as a species, the possums are suffering from some sort of deressive disorder that causes them to throw themselves in front of fast moving vehicles. They practice playing dead to prepare for the "big day" of ritual sacrifice which is committed in hopes of appeasing the Gods.
    P.S. now I know that we are entirely cut from the same cloth. This is precisely the kind of conversations that occur between Dave and I. Ten years later and we're still having these weird, philosophical "what if" conversations.
    Also, when I was a kid and moved to our farm, the neighbors welcome us with a big ol' pot of turtle stew. The turtle was fresh from the road and, evidently, quite a delicacy. My point? Road Kill dinner happens up nawth to y'all! :)

  18. p.s. pardon my son's front tooth fell out as I was proofing my comment and I pressed "post comment" in my excitement!

  19. wow, is it a long drive to your parent's house ;)

    seriously too funny!!!

  20. My husband calls squirrels "leaf monkeys."

    It isn't "why did the possum cross the road" because they never actually make it across and "why is the possum flattened in the middle of the road" is too obvious.


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