Not Playing Possum

Monday, April 7, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Something horrible is happening.  At night.  While we're sleeping.  And it's the subtle kind of Soylent Green madness that, were I not to bring it up here, may go on unnoticed until it's too late.

The opossums are committing suicide ya'll. In force. To wit, I have personally seen the remnants of 8 such vehicle-assisted suicides in just the past week.

What is happening to depress the northeastern opossum? I am worried for them.

Look at those cold troubled eyes.
I guess the first question is, what the hell do opossums even eat? Thankfully, my friend google had the answer:

Opossums are not picky eaters. As scavenger omnivores, opossums eat everything from last night's meatloaf to grass. Food sources typically include dead animals, berries and nuts. Opossums will also hunt mice, birds, snakes and chickens. If it's edible and accessible, the opossum will eat it. This means you need to securely store your trash to prevent the animal from raiding your leftovers.

So, in a word, they eat friggin everything. Not a ton of help there. So I digged deeper. I looked at some zoo websites to see what their captive possums enjoy. And then I found this golden nugget.

At the Zoo, older opossums are limited to (because of their limited exercise):
  • Lite Dog Chow 
  • Fruits and vegetables 
And then it hit me. With all the dogs in the neighborhood, I bet these opossums are hooked on our pets' bougie dog chow. I mean, my dogs alone have a limited ingredient diet of venison and sweet potatoes. Not exactly a hard knock life.

And, this is Amherst, so there is no way that I am at the highest end of the high-end dog-food market. These poor possums are getting a taste of the good life, the filet mignon, champagne, and caviar ways of the fuzzy and pampered, when they are built for an omnivore's diet of garbage, fruit, birds, and carcasses.

And all those fortified complex vitamin-enriched proteins are DRIVING THEM INSANE!!!!

adorably insane!

The way I picture it, these Woody Allen-esc nebbish possums are walking around in jerky circles, kvetching about how they can't find a decent wet cat food in the Valley anymore.  They lament the day's when they could just eat the meatloaf tossed into the backyard by non-composting heretics.

And eventually, with no reliable source of antidepressants on the possum market (Thanks Obama!), it just doesn't seem worth it anymore.  Who wants to hunt for Cheetos' wrappers after dining in the Lincoln Ballroom.  It's enough to make you want to hang yourself . . . upside down.

terrifyingly insane!

But obviously, that's redundant for creatures like the possum, sloth, and bats.  And so, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, these opossums approach the road as a final desperate attempt to find some effective way of ending themselves.

Enter the automobile.

Never has the forrest world encountered a more successful world-ender than the car.  Be it the emissions that erode the ozone, the pavement paths burned into the once fertile landscape, or the casual ubiquity with which our grills dispatch small creatures from this earth execution-style, the automobile industry has had a unrepentantly negative impact on the Earth's natural habitat. And so when those funnel-faced rat-tailed scavengers head toward the light(s), I suspect they don't fully comprehend the finality that is about to meet them head on.

And then, all that remains, are remains.  Crimson brush strokes against a pavement canvas. While the possums' reputation for faking death is famous, passerbys quickly look away, confident this particular possum won't bolting to life and scurrying off any time soon.

Unless my dogs find em. 

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