Thursday, June 12, 2008

Karma, she is the bitch!

My sister and I have a long, long past of rescuing animals. Generally, these rescues involve living creatures, which we attempt to return to their owners. Occasionally, however, they take on a more forensic aspect.

I was once party to what should have been a "Lifetime: Television for Squirrels" cautionary tale, in which two frolicsome young lovers of the nut-foraging variety had the temerity or the misfortune to dart into a busy street in front of me. I missed my squirrel (the pursuer), but the guy in the oncoming lane was less avid in his driving, and zapped the poor pursuee dead. I drove on, sadly, agonizing about whether somehow the squirrel might have been merely stunned; how at this very moment she was comatose and imperiled by other motorists. I called my husband from the car. "Honey, should I go back and check, to see if it's still alive?" "Dorcasina," he said, with infinite kindness and patience, "a car weighs two tons. That's a battle no squirrel can win." He was right, I knew, yet I had to return to the scene of the crime (involuntary squirrel-slaughter? rodenticide? are squirrels rodents? this is what it's like inside my brain). I returned, nevertheless, to find that the squirrel was, indeed, quite dead. After all that trouble, it felt callous to leave her there to be mangled by passing traffic, so I switched on the hazard lights, got the collapsible snow shovel out of the back of the car, and attempted to slide the corpse onto the shovel without touching it (rabies, you know). At that moment, a garbage truck pulled up behind me. "Hit a squirrel, huh," said the garbage man. "Here, I'll do that," he said, grasping the poor squirrel by her lush tail and flipping her up into the truck. "No, no," I protested. "I didn't hit the squirrel. I missed my squirrel. The other guy hit his squirrel. This one's his!"

I was haunted all day by thoughts of that poor squirrel waking miraculously from her coma in the bed of a garbage truck.

This all comes as a long, sad, self-indulgent Preamble to the real saga of my sister's squirrel tale. Yesterday she felt compelled to pick up the hapless body of one of God's little rodent (are they rodents? I've gotta look this up) creatures from the street where it lay, pristine, but stone dead. She found a piece of cardboard, and a stick, and moved the squirrel to resting place that did not include being mashed into a gut-and-fur paste by traffic. Good deed all around. Notice that she, too, avoided touching the squirrel. One never knows about rabies.

No sooner had she arrived home when--karma--a squirrel fell dead from their tree into the driveway. Evidently word had spread that she would make sure squirrels found a resting place, unmolested by passing cars. As she said to me on the phone, "I've never picked up a dead squirrel before, and now I had to do two in one day!"

No good deed goes unpunished.

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Reasons for celebration

1. Another blow for the current administration, which has been, to my mind, intent on "saving" America by rendering its laws moot and its promises null and void.

2. Erstwhile rock band Toto has dissolved because their lead singer can no longer perform their hits "with a straight face." Kudos to him for recognizing that just because one can, one need not necessarily try to do the same things at 50 as he did at 19.

3. Old tenants are being replaced single dad! Who has an awesome daughter! More about this later; I'm in the throes of pre-vacation packing and rental negotiations before we leave for an ill-timed restful vacation in the hot, sodden, wind-swept Midwest. Oh well, our friends have air-conditioning and, we hope, a sturdy roof. And sandbags. And a cellar, like in the Wizard of Oz. And an escape route. And an amphibious vehicle.

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