Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bugged






Tater the cat skeetered her favorite bug under the oven and now it's gone. The bug is a robotic HexBug from Radioshack. It looks like a humming toothbrush head and seems to be able to extricate itself from most any situation, but not this one. We poked under there with sticks and flashlights but the bug has fallen into a pit and we can't reach it. "Well, I guess we'll just have to listen to it until the battery runs out," Dave said, giving up. Oh no.

We're not good at listening to things die. We endow most objects with souls even while we give short shrift to our own. I once drove 15 miles to fetch Pootie's little buddy Hajerle, a motorcycle fan (and, like Pootie, technically a stuffed animal), so he wouldn't miss the Harley parade coming through town. I was inconsolable for weeks after the Sojourner rover landed on Mars and lost communication with the mother planet. I'd well up every time I thought about the little dude putzing around in the red dust, emitting unanswered eeps of fear and abandonment. Probably I invest too much emotion in things like that because I cannot bear to contemplate the suffering of sentient beings. I fire off checks to Haiti and save my tears for tiny toothbrush heads suffering under my oven.

Dave's a big strong fellow but he's the same way. He freely admits he would be a vegetarian if he was responsible for dispatching his meat himself. He has tried numerous times over the years to cut short the suffering of various wounded animals--rodents, opossums--often without success, reducing the animal to hamburger and himself to a weeping, sodden mass of misery. On the other hand, he loves meat. Every kind of meat, and every part. If it rooted or mud-wallowed or basked in the sun or gamboled in the grass, or just digested things or excreted urine or cleaned toxins out of the bloodstream or performed any number of other revolting functions, he'll salt it up and give it a go. And he has declared himself willing to try anything. "If I went to the store and found a package of meat labeled 'Robert,' sitting on the little Kotex on the Styrofoam tray and neatly wrapped in plastic, heck, I'd try it," he has said. Whereupon people tend to get real quiet. Certainly, it sheds a different light on the random friendly ass-squeeze.

So when we hauled in a massive sturgeon from our friend Scott's pond, and pulled it up on shore, there could have been trouble. Sturgeons are actually prehistoric, and you'd have to beat one straight into the Cretaceous just to get its attention. But when Scott supplied Dave with a .22 pistol for the coup de grace, he was transformed. In an instant the sturgeon was dinner-worthy with a tidy hole in his head.

I told Dave he would have overcome his sensitivities just fine if he had been born in a different era. He considered the possibility for a few moments while I indulged in a reverie of him in a coonskin cap and leather pants, then chaps, then feathers and a loincloth. "Nope," he said, snapping me back, "I'd be the first vegetarian pioneer."

I started to disagree and he cut me short and pointed me towards Exhibit A, a line-up that grows from year to year. "I can't even eat my chocolate Easter bunny," he said. Point taken.


21 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. When I was a kid, anytime one of my stuffed animals suffered any indignity that exposed the fluffy innards (usually the fault of one of our dogs), the stuffed animal would spend the night in Sick Bay (obviously watched too much Star Trek as a kid...I'm surprised I didn't walk around saying things like "It's worse than that, it's TORN, Jim!" in my best Dr. McCoy voice). Sick Bay was a sacred corner of my dresser, and said stuffed animal would get the royal treatment: a band-aid, a pillow, and a soft fluffy blanket under which it would be tucked. I fully expected the "wound" to be healed the following morning, and when it wasn't...well, I suspect my mother got out the needle and thread just to put an end to the incessant weeping and wailing, and shut me up.

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  3. And to join in the spirit of the "So The Thing Is...blog", the above post contains no fat, no calories, and absolutely No Snark.

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  4. My first stuffed animal was a dinosaur named "Federal," and he got a pretty bad gash and never recovered. I'm still weeping and wailing. I guess I was insufferable. The next Christmas I got a new dinosaur, "Gronk," and eventually another 43 animals, all of whom benefited from the advances of medicine at my house.

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  5. ROBERT! excellent!

    (and at the age of 35 I fedexed my childhood teddy to my mom so she could fix his nose because I could not bring myself to stick a needle in him...)

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  6. Percy, a small protoplastic baby doll given to me by my kindergarten teacher for taking care of the class parakeet over the holidays, resides on the top shelf of my bedroom bookcase. On the rare occasions that I clean, I pick Percy up, set him down gently, explaining that he'll be back in his spot as soon as I've dusted it. Then I pick him up, kiss him on the top of his hard little head, and put him back in his penthouse, telling him what a good boy he is. Eventually, he'll forget how many times my brother hanged him.

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  7. You are the most amazing, funniest woman. No matter how tired or cranky, when I read your posts, I have a belly laugh and come back to life.

    Best wishes to you an yourn.

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  8. "Murrmurrs: wiping out crankiness one Eve at a time" Thanks!

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  9. I love love love that picture of Tater tapping his toy. You must buy him another, and put a rolled-up towel under the stove first.

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  10. When I was finally done playing with dolls, I dressed them all nicely and drafted adoption papers for them. I donated them to the local Goodwill only after the staff promised to make whomever took them home sign those papers.

    Right now, the ladybugs that came in with the winter plants have ceased hibernating and are taking over my bathroom. I'm so worried about them! What if they aren't getting enough to eat? Some of them look a little faint... is that one stuck to the soap dish?? I am driving myself to distraction...

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  11. Barb, I've seen some ladybugs outside already in the Portland area, so they'll probably survive if your climate isn't colder and if you provide transport services. Try the spider trick: capture them under a glass and slide a card under it before lift-off. How about something like a Netflicks ad to make bulk mail useful for a change?

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  12. Elizabeth BrewsterMarch 10, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    Let me know if you need help dispatching the chocolate bunnies...

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  13. I do the same thing. I used to carefully, meticulously arrange my stuffed animals at night when I was a kid, so none of them had bent ears or appendages and could rest comfortably.

    I accidentally killed a lizard at the age of eleven, when I was living in Tennessee. I could see for the tears. Just about killed myself with remorse.

    I felt awful for the Mars Rover, too. All that way from home and no answer on the radio.

    I give my Jeep a comforting, apologetic pat whenever I take a bump a little too fast.

    The last bad incident was when I was in Korea and I'd caught some fish with my bare hands at a festival. It was still flopping around, so I thought I'd try to ease its suffering by banging it on a rock. I messed up. I whacked it side-on to the rock, rupturing its gills. Blood sprayed everywhere. I didn't end up easing the animal's passing one little bit. I didn't get quite as upset as I had about the lizard, but still...I took a picture of the blood-stained rock just to memorialize the poor mullet.

    Excellent post, to say the least.

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  14. I give my ancient Honda encouraging pats too, especially when it wants to die, but doesn't quite, the first few accelerations on a cold morning. "You're a *good* car!" I tell it.

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  15. OMG you guys are so freakin' funny.....and I haven't even had my coffee yet this morning.

    Every year when I put my Holiday "animals" away I ask who they would like to hang out with in the box. One year, in order for them to fit in the box I had arrange two of them "head to hiney". It bugged me so much that Snow Bear had his head up Rudolph's bum that I had to unpack them and use two boxes!!

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  16. Poor Tater...she must have a new bug...

    And, I've gotta go get one for my Bugsy. His favorite 'toy' is the cast off metal cap of my Perrier bottles. Fortunately, those make no dying laments when they (invariably) end up under the stove. Or refrigerator.

    BTW, our stove pulls out. Just in case yours may, too, on the hopes of retrieving the Tater bug. :)

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  17. What a brilliant blog!
    I was the birthday girl yesterday and some dear fellow gave me my first ever Piñata. Which turned out to be my favourite gift. However the gesture backfired somewhat when I had a tantrum fit on discovering what fate normally awaits these colourful creatures. Hence it was a somewhat sombre group that eventually retrieved their sweets- gently- from the opening of the now and forevermore intact Piñata...
    with love Caroline x

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  18. Poor Tater...she must have a new bug...

    And, I've gotta go get one for my Bugsy. His favorite 'toy' is the cast off metal cap of my Perrier bottles. Fortunately, those make no dying laments when they (invariably) end up under the stove. Or refrigerator.

    BTW, our stove pulls out. Just in case yours may, too, on the hopes of retrieving the Tater bug. :)

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  19. OMG you guys are so freakin' funny.....and I haven't even had my coffee yet this morning.

    Every year when I put my Holiday "animals" away I ask who they would like to hang out with in the box. One year, in order for them to fit in the box I had arrange two of them "head to hiney". It bugged me so much that Snow Bear had his head up Rudolph's bum that I had to unpack them and use two boxes!!

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  20. I love love love that picture of Tater tapping his toy. You must buy him another, and put a rolled-up towel under the stove first.

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  21. You are the most amazing, funniest woman. No matter how tired or cranky, when I read your posts, I have a belly laugh and come back to life.

    Best wishes to you an yourn.

    ReplyDelete