I have Obama ennui and petroleum fatigue so, here is a story.
In spite of its title, this story is largely about feces so, if you have a weak stomach, stop right here. It’s also about my war, stretching over several years, against raccoons.
I live close to downtown on a parcel that includes four bearing fruit trees. This ought to make me gloriously happy because I was reared in a big city where I always longed for the countryside. Now, for me, on a small scale, the old wish that cities ought to be built in the countryside has come true. The problem is that a tribe of impudent raccoons lives nearby on an untended cliff. For half the year, one or another of my trees is bearing fruits and the raccoons make nightly visits, singly or in groups. Generally, that would be OK with me: Share and share alike, I say. However, raccoons apparently feel the need to defecate soon after they eat, nearly always on my property, in this case. In fact, they are so regular (so to speak), that they always do it on the roof of a low shed adjacent to a lovely small sun-deck. I spent significant money two years ago to build a grape arbor above the sun-deck. I had visions of myself writing outdoors and lazily reaching up for my own dangling grapes.
In the past, I have won indecisive victories with a b.b. gun used at close range. I say indecisive because, one particularly ornery old mama I had shot in the ass several time retaliated by leaving a turd right plum in the middle of my bathroom’s skylight.
(With admirable à propos, one might say.) Incredible but true, she or one of her close relatives also crapped on the hood of my car. The car was parked on the street. How the perpetrator selected my vehicle rather than a neighbor’s left me perplexed and also vaguely spooked for weeks.
Recently, my fig tree fruited again because of a warm October, which renewed the invasion. The invaders resumed shitting on the low shed three steps from my window, as they had done in the past. In the morning, I cleaned up and spread noxious chemicals on the spot. Nothing helped. I became angry and decided, “No more Mister Nice Guy!” I spent a good half hour creating nail boards, with thin nails protruding outside and upward. I placed them right on the raccoons’ comfort spot, business side up. Next morning, I woke up to find my nail boards covered with shit!
I was about to call an expensive pest control company when my wife reasoned with me, “Those raccoons show admirable tenaciousness – she said. Their persistence against you is a sort of moral victory. In effect, they show better American spirit than most liberals.”
I find the argument absurdly compelling. I was momentarily paralyzed into inaction. Then, my wife offered a humane if cowardly solution. She said that if I placed a newspaper on top of the shed every night, she would pick up the raccoon turds every morning. I agreed. Of course, I use the New York Times.
PS I hear that there are no raccoons outside of North America except in some parts of Germany and Japan, both close to US Air Force bases. It’s one of those stories too good to check.
© Jacques Delacroix 2006
[Editor's note: this story first appeared on Dr. Delacroix's blog, Facts Matter, on June 16th 2010]