Thursday, May 01, 2008

Possum (2005-2008)

Three years ago, we were in the kitchen eating dinner when we saw a little white creature slowly walking across the yard. "HEY! That's a POSSUM!" Eli 3.7 shouted, and indeed, it was.

We looked around and saw that this little possum was living under our deck. I know, having a possum under your deck is totally stupid, and I agree with you, but there was no question that he was going to be allowed to live there once we saw him.

Last week, Gloria came in from the back yard while I was in my study planning a rural electrification project that would benefit thousands of--oh, hell, I was playing Shiren.

"I think something may have died under the deck," she said.

There are a few phrases that can be waved off until later, but "something may have died" is not one of them. Resigned, I pushed the chair back from the desk, leaving my beneficent rural electrification project to later, and followed her outside.

I was assaulted immediately by the stench, and it was wearing a full coat of armor and a +12 shield. It was incredible.

"So tell me," I said to Gloria, "you said that something may have died under the deck. What were your other theories?"

I took a strong flashlight and shined it between the boards of the deck near where the flies seemed to be buzzing. I saw the white fur and the little pink nose, and I was sorry that the little possum didn't live under our deck anymore.
That night, Eli 6.8 was getting ready for bed, and he turned to me and said, "I feel bad for the little possum." It was very touching, and he sat there quietly for a few seconds. Then he said, "But I don't feel BAD about the SMELL."

We both love to watch Ninja Warrior, which is an entirely separate topic for another day. In brief, though, Ninja Warrior is a Japanese television program where people try to complete various obstacle courses, usually with a time limit. The courses are incredibly physically demanding, the wipeouts are hilarious, and there are some great athletes (as well as some total goofballs) that take part.

The show is a mix of the original broadcasting (in Japanese) and athlete profiles (overdubbed in English). The interviews with contestants, though, are all in Japanese, and they're sub-titled. The Japanese have a very restrained way of doing interviews, and the translation is even more terse, so everything people say reads stilted. We've been reading these subtitles for months.

Last week, we were watching an episode and Eli said "Dad, do you think I could complete the first stage?"

"Well, if any six-year-old could, it would be you," I said, which is true, since he's Spiderman.

"If I FINISHED the first stage, I'd be the youngest person to ever do it," he said.

"And what would you say when they interviewed you?" I asked.

"I am very excited. It is a great honor," he said.

Gloria was getting Eli out of the bath last week when I walked into the bathroom. "Look at my foot," she said. "I'm losing a toenail." Indeed she was--one toenail was blackened, which is not that uncommon for runners.

"That'll come off in a few days," I said.

"I know," she said. "It's already loose.

"It's coming OFF?" Eli 6.8 asked.

"Yes," Gloria said.

"Can I HAVE it?" he asked.

"I don't think so," she said.

"Well, if you're not giving it to him, will you give it to ME?" I asked. I'm not really interested, unless it has the face of Jesus and I can sell it on eBay, but this is fun.

"NO," she said.

"Oh, come on!" I said. "You mean you're giving it to someone OUTSIDE the family?"

"That is poor sportsmanship," Eli said.

"Exactly," I said.

"Good grief," Gloria said. "I'm glad that you're all interested, but I'm not giving it to anyone."

"I'm glad that you're glad," Eli said. He was quiet for a few seconds. "Hey, when I say 'I'm glad that you're glad,' who EXACTLY is glad?" he asked. "I am TOTALLY confused."

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