Saturday, July 10, 2010

On Cajones

You ever see a dead critter on the side of the road? I mean right on the side, not in the middle or part-way in like he made it about as far as the average distance of an outer wheel from the shoulder, I mean right on the edge.

I use to think that guy was just shit at crossing roads. Dude, you made it like a foot and a half. That's not very impressive. You basically died at the first opportunity. You're those guys on the beach from the beginning of "Saving Private Ryan." Yeah, it's stacked against you, but jeeze!

But then I realized something. A good percentage of those dead critters I see on the road's periphery are pointed towards the woods, away from the center of the highway. Sure, I suppose a number of those tried to turn around and run back–the cowards!–but I have to assume, statistically, some of those animals made it all the way from the other side of the motorway. Granted, they weren't the Ultimate Street Crossing Champion like any of their friends who managed to make it across the street, but those guys did a pretty damned good job. They went for it and, yeah, they failed, but they almost didn't. (To extend the "Private Ryan" analogy, I guess these guys are like that one soldier who walks around in a daze picking up severed limbs to see if they're his. Yeah, he's pretty screwed, but what a trooper.)

So just imagine the cajones on those critters that go ahead and take that last long trek. It's only a road to us, but even the biggest raccoon tops out around 25 or 30 pounds. Lets take a conservative estimate and say the average raccoon's about 20 lbs. He eats well, but he's still spry. That's still more than eight times smaller than the average American by weight. By height, he's like a fifth of us.

Have you ever tried to cross a highway without a crosswalk? With speeding cars? At night?

No, you likely have not. But wait, it's far worse for out little raccoon friend. It's hard enough to cross a highway as a person, now consider that for a creature about 18" long and weighing only 20 lbs.

Try imagining a highway that is from end-to end not four lanes wide (plus a median), but twenty lanes wide. Now imagine that instead of every day cars about 16 feet long and weighing 1.5 tons, cars are eighty feet long and twenty feet wide and weigh as much as 32,000 pounds traveling upwards of three hundred miles per hour. Now imagine you've never seen shit like this before in your life.

That's what squirrels and raccoons and badgers and skunks and cats and deer do every day. They're all fucking lunatics. The ones that make it back must seem like action heroes to all the other woodland critters. They come to this impenetrable river of death and say, "No, Mother, I must go! There must be something beyond the great divide. Perhaps we will find a new source of food, a new lace to live! If only just one of us has the courage to try. I will return for you, Mother. For all of you."

But yeah, most of them went out about two feet, froze, and got whacked trying to make it back, crawling away like little bitches.

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