Thursday, October 29, 2009

Road Kill

One thing’s for certain when you move to a small town: You can expect to see more dead animals in the road. It’s simple math. The less populated a city is with two-legged creatures, the more living space there is for the four-legged variety.

About the second week I moved here, I noticed a dead raccoon on the side of the road right around the corner from my home. Poor guy, I thought. Poor BIG guy. Not sure what he had been scavenging when he was alive, but I’m certain this bruiser of a raccoon didn’t die hungry.

Surely, someone would pick up his carcass – HEAVE-HO! -- and dispose of it properly, I thought. Hey, don’t look at me . . . . eeewwww!! I’m a city gal at heart. We don’t do that kind of thing. But there must be some designated city worker in this small, critter-filled town whose only job is to harvest road kill, right?

Well, we’re going on two and a half months later, and believe it or not, that dead raccoon is STILL lying face-down on the side of the road! But thanks to the marvelous science of decomposition, it’s not so big anymore. (EEWWWW!) My stomach turns every time we pass it when I think about how many seasons that carcass has endured.

What amazes me is that no one seems to care. Complete indifference. Where’s animal control? Where are the city health inspectors, because surely it must be a health hazard by now? I see people walking right by the shrinking dead raccoon, lots of joggers, too. The people who own the home on the hill above the rotting raccoon wheel their trash out to the side of the road, faithfully, every week, and position their can within feet of that poor ’coon. I mean, would it kill them to just grab his formerly bushy tail and HEAVE-HO him into their trash can? What’s wrong with these rural folks?? Have they no respect for their road kill?

It must smell something awful by now. I wouldn’t know. I keep the windows rolled up tight when I pass by. But I must confess: I do look. I can’t help myself. It’s that weird car-crash-mentality thing. No one wants to see dead bodies, but when you pass a car wreck, you can’t help but stare, half-expecting (and half-hoping, right, all you sickos??) to see a head roll.

Today, there was a dead squirrel in the middle of the road in our housing tract. We may as well dress him up with garland and holly because I suspect he’s going to be there for a while. Quite possibly until the ’coons come home.

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Jouda Mann said...

My wife went to college in a small town in North Texas (that's how it is here. They build colleges in small towns apparently in an effort to get people to move there, albeit on an itinerant basis).
One day we were just driving around, seeing what we could see, and we came across some road kill. Neither of us are bothered by these kinds of things, and we started making observations as to just exactly what kind of animal this rather mangled specimen had started out as. After some good natured argument, she picking one species, and I another, I suddenly had a very strong vocal hallucination of Jeff Foxworthy in my head:
If you've ever graded roadkill, you might be a redneck.
Six years later, and we still laugh at it, and engage in grading roadkill whenever we drive down a country road.

Lynn said...

Hey, Jouda!

Great to hear from you again! Thought maybe you found another favorite blogger. It can be a very fickle business, this blogging stuff. Everyone vying for YOUR attention. Love the story about road kill that you shared. Sad that you are so bored in a small town that grading road kill is a source of entertainment. But I like that you and your wife are so compatible when it comes to dead animals. It's those little moments with each other that mean so much! Hope to hear from you again.

HeyJoe said...

Sounds like you need to pick up one of those Road Kill Cookbooks.