Monday, March 21, 2011

One of my jobs is burying roadkill.

Today I found an armadillo.

It didn't look like an armadillo at first. More like a gray football that had been deflated. I only realized that it wasn't a football when I lifted it, and felt its weight.

While this was unsanitary, it wasn't gruesome. The armadillo was packed neatly inside its cracked taco of a shell. It didn't twitch, leak, or even squish.

As I laid it in its grave, I couldn't help but think, "What remarkable manners!"

Burying animals can be very traumatizing. Picture a limp water balloon, with limbs and fur and a face. And you look at its face...its eyes...and you wish that it had an expression.

If it had an expression, it would look like a cartoon character. It would be easy to anthropomorphize.

It would definitely be scarier, but at least it wouldn't seem so unmoved by its death. I mean, that's fair, right? Its death was probably the biggest event of its life.

"I just want some input," you beg the animal. "I dug your grave! That should be enough! It's not fair to leave me with all of the existential burden. Do your share."

The animal stares ahead, as stubborn as a kid in time-out.

"Please, just look pensive!" you persist. "You're almost there! With just a pinch of nostalgic subtext, you'd look pensive!"

Even if its expression showed that it was suffering all the torments in Hell, you'd feel better. At least that would be an answer.

But no. The little bastard keeps still.

You backfill the grave and hope, pray, and root for it to leap out and scamper up a tree...but it doesn't care about that, either. It's quit. Cover it in dirt, deep fry it, French kiss it. It's quit.

The armadillo's face, however, was in its shell. Hidden. It looked more like a seed than a corpse.

Isn't that considerate?

This animal was its own coffin!

Its final act was an act of mercy for its pallbearer. Imagine how many generations of armadillos were sacrificed in the name of this selfless evolution!

Imagine being born with your coffin attached to your back, soft and wet, but hardening by the minute.

Imagine schlepping your coffin every day, and sleeping in it every night.

Imagine armoring yourself, hiding beneath, and playing with your coffin.

Imagine getting cracked like a fortune cookie, but having the presence of mind to wrap yourself to go.


  1. Why bury them when you can put a cigar in their mouth and leave them in Duffy's front yard?