Sunday, June 27, 2010

Re: Humor Column -- The Not So Okay Corral...hazards of the wild...

The Not So Okay Corral

Even if I don’t go looking for excitement it comes a lookin’ for me. Case in point is my recent, “When Skunks Go Wild(ly Rabid)” experience.

It seemed like a normal enough day, what with me spending the budget of a small underdeveloped country on groceries, chasing the dogs around shouting, “Go outside when you have to go to the bathroom!” and trying to schedule some spontaneity with my husband…until the phone call…duhn, duhn, duhn.

I was in the back of my mansion taking care of some business (translation: I was folding clothes in the back bedroom of my modest home) when I thought I heard the phone ring and the word, “skunk” being spoken by my neighbor during the course of her message. Now we have a great relationship, so I was pretty sure this wasn’t some sort of namecalling opening salvo, so I ran to hear the end of the message. (Okay, you got me on that one. I walked briskly.)

Evidently, there was a sick skunk wandering around my property with its tail up and at the ready, as well as its jaws, and our neighbor wanted to let me know that she was trying to find the appropriate county, state, INTERPOL agency that takes care of this sort of thing. We met out in front of my estate (translation: we chatted in front of my deck that is the size of a roomy gang plank) to talk about the grievously ill animal she was now viewing through her binoculars. The skunk’s future didn’t look so bright, seemingly destined for Skunk Heaven and the appropriate agency was on their way.

When the agent showed up to take a look at the animal she determined that a) the animal was suffering b) the animal was rabid and c) I should go inside the house. I determined that a) she seemed to have the situation under control b) the animal was beyond help; and c) I should go inside the house.

Meanwhile, some sort of Wildlife Refuge entity had been contacted as well which, unbeknownst to us, had a polar opposite sort of differing viewpoint about the handling of diseased wildlife than our at-the-ready agency. My neighbor noted this when she was on the phone with the former and the shots heard around the block rang out as the aghast animal rescuer shouted, “What was that? Was that a gun? We could have saved that animal!” The succession of four blasts that followed didn’t enhance their communication and I guess the call didn’t end in the most positive of ways.It took five shots to transition that poor, sick animal into the skunk hereafter, after which the area looked as though we’d had a shoot-out at the Okay Corral.

The cordite and animal stench wafted through the air, vying for pungent equality. “What must the neighbors think?” crossed my mind, but we live in amongst wildlife, so it’s not all that unusual to hear gunshots. No one came to inquire about what time the “Neighborhood Watch Target Practice” meeting had started.

The agent bagged and tagged the skunk, advising me that she wouldn’t be taking our mammal lawn ornament with her, as our homeowner’s association would take care of picking up the animal free of charge. The problem was – and isn’t it interesting that I only see a problem at this juncture – that when I called my association I found out they only pick-up deer and it’s not free. “Even if I strapped on a pair of antlers to the skunk’s head?” I joked. It seemed as though this was a health hazard that someone with more credentials than myself should be dealing with. Wasn’t there an entity like the “Wildlife Safety and Attention to the Details of the Passing on of Animals Association?” I asked, which became a rhetorical question at that juncture.

Where before my neighbor had been taking care of everything I assured her it really was my responsibility, particularly now that the animal was secured and sedentary in my bargain garbage bag. But then I began to get nervous. What if that other agency in my life, the Sanitation Department, reported me for having a bullet-riddled skunk?

This thought spurred me on to call the original agency, asking them if they would pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top retrieve this creature as I was now feeling like the witness to an unreported crime. The events were all catching up to me and I like skunks, so I rather emotionally said I just wanted it all to be over, over, over to which they replied they would be right over. And they were. Thank you.

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