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A Possum Story
 

When you own a house, there is no shortage of unpleasant and disgusting tasks that must be performed on a regular basis. Eventually, Induhviduals will handle those chores. For now, Pam and I divide the labor for disgusting tasks this way: Pam alerts me that a disgusting task must be performed, then I perform it. This system has worked well for spider assassinations, clogged shower drains, toxic spills, and all manner of cat box issues. Recently Pam alerted me that a possum was at the bottom of the swimming pool. My job was to get it out.

This was my most challenging job yet.

As a vegetarian, I can only handle seeing dead animals up to a certain size before I get a serious case of the heebie jeebies. I'm not too bothered looking at dead bugs and mice, under the theory that "they are little." But this possum was way above my heebie jeebie threshold. Worse yet, possums are notorious for pretending to be dead. I wasn't about to be fooled by the oldest trick in the animal kingdom.

I looked carefully to see if the possum was breathing through a thin reed of some sort. I saw nothing. Nor did I see any air tanks or diving apparatus. The only possibility was that he was holding his breath. I checked the Internet to see how long a possum can hold its breath. Apparently much research needs to be done in that area.

As luck would have it, today was the day the pool cleaning service was scheduled to clean the pool. If I pretended I didn't know there was a possum down there, the pool guy would have to fish it out. That way HE would be the one embarrassed by the possum's trickery. The only problem with that approach is that if the possum was really dead, the pool guy would have to leave it somewhere. He certainly wasn't going to take it with him in the truck. ("Here, little buddy, you ride shotgun.") If I were the pool guy, I'd be mad that I had to take a possum out of a pool. For revenge, I'd try to think up a funny place to put it, like in the hammock.

So I decided to take care of the job myself. I took the pool-cleaning apparatus that has a shallow net on the end of a long pole. That is the preferred tool for possum removal. Not only can it reach the bottom of the pool, but because it's long, it has the leverage you need to fling the possum over the fence and into the neighbor's pool.

This method worked well. The only problem is that every other day the possum is back in my pool. I expect some tension at the next neighborhood block party.

From the Dilbert Newsletter 25.0
Scott Adams


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