Not Actually Playin' Possum...

This is just a quick, sad little footnote on this whole "living in California" thing.

I have moved to an area where I am apparently surrounded by opossums. Being a fan of marsupials, and not being daunted at all (like some outright wusses are) by crazy-looking varmints with mouthfuls of scary, sharp teeth -- not to mention being a longtime fan of king 'possum Pogo his'self -- I am very pleased at this thought. I like being surrounded by 'possums.

Except, every possum I have seen thus far is dead. Like, laying in the road struck by a vehicle dead.

#5 was tonight on the way home. "Hey, what's that laying by those cars?," I asked as the sun was just starting to go down on our day. Drawing closer, the blood spatter surrounding the unknown creature's body was made readily apparent. "Oh, it's another possum," I said almost nonchalantly, like I was now almost expecting any dead creature in our neighborhood to turn out to be a 'possum. "That's a possum alright," Jen replied, almost with the same tone. I finished the thought with "That's number 5."

The first week I started working, I passed a dead possum along Frontera, the access road near our home. I watched it's then noxious body erode and disintegrate slowly over the passing few weeks, until at last, there was little to mark its existence on this earth except for a small patch of fur adhered stubbornly to the pavement. There was no cleanup crew to pick it up and protect the national health, nor did I ever actually see anything in the way of scavenging insects or larger creatures taking advantage of the free meal. It just slowly went away.

Since that opening salvo of sadness, which I naturally turned into an opportunity to muse on the subject of mortality, I have stumbled upon two other 'possum bodies on my walks to and from work, and the fourth was seen out on the freeway heading into L.A. I would be overjoyed to actually encounter a live creature on my journeys, never having seen one outside of a zoo, books or television, but with the addition of #5 to the List of Dead Local Marsupials, I am starting to wonder. Are there actually live opossums to be seen around here, or is someone playing with my head? Am I trapped in a psychological game wherein I am just assuming opossums are a local creature, and some secret fiend is keeping two steps ahead of me with a bag of dead 'possums slung over his back, from which he occasionally draws a specimen, which he then artfully arranges before my path?

It's hard to tell, and not actually being a paranoid person makes it difficult to buy even my own conspiracy theory. After all, why would anyone want to mess with my head concerning opossums when I have never even betrayed the slightest voicing over their appearance in this area? What good would it serve anyone to play this game? Surely no one would go to this sort of length just to convince me that I am surrounded by opossums. Besides, I have made it clear that it makes me immeasurably happy through this evidence that I might actually have the creatures sharing my neighborhood. So, maybe this "secret fiend" is more of a "friend," trying to make my feel pleasant and warm. Only, if this were the case, why would they do it by throwing dead specimens of the creatures I adore constantly in my path?

No, this is mere coincidence. It is just pure chance, and it is only a combination of nature's constancy and my eternal vigilance for odd sights and happenings that allows me to have run across or even consider these scenarios. Mere coincidence and pure chance.

And that is exactly what "they" want me to think...


Anonymous said…
You've put "they" and "salvo of sadness" in the same post.

Do the math! Damien is the reason all the possums are dead!


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