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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Because nothing is funnier or stranger than LIFE

“Oh no, there’s a gopher in our backyard.”

To a committed suburban weekend gardener and his loyal family, them’s fighting words. The vegetable garden must prevail and so I found myself at my own back door staring down by at a wire metal rectangle labeled “The Happy Trapper”. My master gardener husband had brought it home. It was about 3 feet long and 18 inches square and I was told, just the right size to hold your unwanted suburban backyard varmint.

The idea was that this contraption would capture the intruder safely and easily without harm, hence “The Happy Trapper” and all you had to do was call your local pest control bureau to take it away. My husband and son were excited about the prospect of snaring a wild beast in the backyard since living in the suburbs of New Jersey doesn’t generally provide too many opportunities for humane wild game hunting.

So the boys set it up near the garden two nights ago taking their cues from Caddyshack’s Carl Spackler, the man-with-a-plan. Who could forget Bill Murray’s crooked mouth slur "in the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher.' “

The next morning I left at my usual 7 a.m., my husband dashed off to Manhattan and my son stumbled off to high school. Nobody bothered to check “The Trapper”.

I arrived home from work that afternoon at about 4pm and my son excitedly told me that the trapper had actually worked, unfortunately on a squirrel.

“ What should we do?” he asked.

My husband wasn’t going to be home until after midnight and I certainly wasn’t going to try or let my son try to release a rodent, even one with a fuzzy tail. So we attended to dinner and our untroubled sleep. Once again, we all got up and out of the house early, completely forgetting about poor mister squirrel. This time when I got home, my son was ready to explode.

“Mom, mom. Oh my god. You know how I told you about the squirrel in the trap? Well now the only thing in the trap is the squirrel’s head and a piece of his fuzzy tail. Something dragged the cage across the yard and that’s all that left. It was attacked in the cage! “

I mean, oh my god, that is so incredibly gross. I was not prepared or raised to tend to any eviscerated animal. Once again, my husband was working late in the city and I certainly was going nowhere near a squirrel head, even in a Happy Trapper. This was not moving forward on my watch.

My son did discuss what happened today with his biology teacher who suggested that the culprit was a local fox. Apparently they are notorious carnivores. I don’t know how the boys are going to handle this one and frankly, I’m not sure I want to know.

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