My Little Opossum

I’m doing a bit of pet sitting for a friend’s two precious dogs. When taking them outside for the final go the other evening, all hell broke loose in the form of an opossum, which one dog cornered and the other killed.

Or so I thought.

(Sidebar – neither dog was injured or bitten and while I was shaking and nearly hysterical, they were grooming themselves and looking utterly smug and satisfied with their accomplishments.)

We finally got the dogs inside and, armed with various plastic bags, brooms, and dustpans, Carter and I went out to assess the damages.

He shone his flashlight on the poor little creature which, as soon as I began to reach for it, opened its eyes.

“Better leave it, babe,” he said. “It might be playing dead.”

“Why would it be playing dead?!”

“Babe, it’s an opossum. That’s what they do.”

Did anyone else have a mother that accused them of “playing opossum” when they pretended to be asleep to avoid getting up for school? Of course you did. I did too.

Apparently, I never took my mother seriously when she said this and filed it away into the “Silly Mom Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About” folder.

We decided to wait until morning. If the opossum was still there, we would dispose of it. If not, well, we would have saved me from death by opossum fight.

The next morning, imagine my horror to discover that the opossum had vanished. I mean, I’m glad the little guy made it. I’m also, however, glad that Carter actually listened to his mother with regard to opossums.

Because, let’s be honest, if I had picked up that “dead” opossum, well, you know… Although, Carter thinks it would have gone more like this…

He has far more confidence in me and my precision tackling skills than he should. We all know I’m far more useful as a receiver. (Har har har)

It’s a real shame because, if left to my own devices, I would have just done this…

What did we learn? Opossums do, in fact, “play opossum.” This has several implications, chief of which is that, no, your mother was not full of shit. At least not about everything. This means that, in all likelihood, she was right about other things, too, like your first boyfriend. Okay, who are we kidding – your first through eighth boyfriends.

Code Milky Green

The Players:

Me

Carter

The World

Ugh.

And then I watched a video that reminded me of my obese dead hamster… but in a cute way.

Those of you who have been around here for a while will remember my dearly departed hamster, Fat Olivia.

 

I called Fat Olivia “Fat Olivia” so that those twig-bitch mice in my sister’s room couldn’t call her that behind her back.

 

Two things you should know about that story:

1. I’m fairly certain that the Fat Olivia blog post has the most comments of any post on this blog ever. Probably.

2. I still want to be a hydrangea bush when I die.

 

Read it. Please. You’re going to need the context to fully appreciate what I’m about to share next.

I know this isn’t new, but it’s new to me. I’m proudshamed to admit that I have watched it no less than 15 times in the last 12 hours.

 

Yea, you read that correctly. Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos.

It reminds me of this:

Too.F*cking.Cute. End of story.

Hope you all have a smashing sort of weekend and that you get all the rain and sub-90 degree weather you’ve been praying/ritually sacrificing your children’s stuffed animals for.

xx

Help me, I’ve fallen into the chasm of probability algorithms and I can’t get out!

School has begun, which means that my Statistics course is actively underway and trying to kill me slowly. Thank goodness for coffee and Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, am I right?

AM I RIGHT? Of course I am.

Essentially, while doing stats, this is me:

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Technically, I’m the worst in the world at this. Naturally, I’ve been spending an inordinant amount of time trying to do other things. Like pinning things.

…and singing this song in my head:

Note: my dear friend has finally started to read the LOTR books. This is important for two reasons. First, I now have someone with whom I can geek out hardcore and say things like, “Can’t we just run away to Mirkwood? It’s got to be better than this!” and someone know exactly what I mean. Second, I have someone to sing this song with.

We’re going to Mooooooordor (Moooooooordor!)

Hang in there, kittens. It’s almost Friday.

Saying goodbye to Robin Williams.

I didn’t mourn my childhood when I left it.

This hadn’t occurred to me until the death of Robin Williams. I left my childhood behind with the same vigor with which I had participated in it. I did not grieve for my innocence. I did not weep for my loss of wonder and lack of skepticism. Rather, I bounded over such simplicity for independence and freedom and the great, wide world in front of me.

Now, it feels very empty in this great, wide world of mine. Now, I wish desperately to return to a time when my universe was small, before I knew the sting of loss or the definition of words like “suicide” or “depression” or “hopelessness.”

I did not know Robin Williams personally – let me begin by making that clear. And yet, as so many of us have commented over these past days, we did know him or, at the very least, we felt as if we did. I cannot speak for other generations, but for those of us who were children in the 1990’s, he was the voice of our very childhood. He was the genie who made us believe in magic, the mad scientist who made us believe in the possibility within the impossible, the man who just wanted things to go back to the way they were. He was the good father, the dreamer, the man who would do anything for those he loved.

This, friends, is what I can’t shake.

I won’t write about depression. There are those far more qualified than I who have taken this tragic event and started a very important conversation about how we need to be more compassionate to our fellows, about how we need to educate ourselves about mental illness and become comfortable talking about it. We need to remove the stigmas. We need to breathe empathy into this world.

These last weeks have been hard to bear. Genocide, war, famine, and countless other atrocities cover the newstape end to end. And yet,  here I sit weeping over the death of a comedian. Here I sit weeping over the irony of the fact that a man who brought so much joy and laughter to the world was unable to bring any to himself. His cup overflowed with the capacity to give laughter and yet, it seems, his brain would not let him partake.

I will grieve for Robin Williams. I will grieve for my childhood, long passed me now. I will grieve for the fact that when I tell my future children about Robin Williams, it will be in the past tense. That when I tell them about Robin Williams, I will have to say, “He was a man who clearly loved to make people laugh. He was a man who was the best at making people laugh and, from what I’m told, he was a beautiful, gentle human being as well.”

We need more of those.

As his daughter, Zelda, commented, “the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence. We’ll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again.”

We must, then,  work twice as hard. As I see it, we don’t have a choice.

Once, when a guest on Inside the Actor’s Theater, James Lipton asked Robin, “ If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?” He said he’d accept God telling him a joke, just so that he’d know that, if heaven is real, there’s laughter there.

I am not without hope. In The Dead Poets Society, Robin quotes Whitman to his students, saying, “That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

I keep coming back to that question – what will your verse be? What indeed?

I think the legacy of Robin Williams is that we should all make an effort every day to make someone’s day a little brighter for having crossed our paths. May we use humor to light the dark corners. May we use compassion to heal wounds. May we have the courage to reach out to our fellows and say to them, “You are not alone.”

Let compassion, whatever else, be the tone of our verse.

I wish him peace. Above all, perhaps, I wish him the same kind of joy he brought to so many of us – an eternity filled with belly-clutching laughter and a knowledge that, somehow in the end, everything is going to be okay.