July 17, 2008
So the other night I opened my back door and there were raccoons on my patio. I immediately screamed, slammed the door, and freaked out my wife all at the same time, a hat trick I haven’t pulled off since I mixed cough medicines and was convinced I was riding a flying spoon. With the raccoons safely shut out of the house (I also propped a bookshelf against the door just in case they decided to pick the lock) I started trying to decide whether I should call someone from animal control or, preferably, call on my Mafia connections to perform a "whack". I’m sure you’re thinking that raccoons are sweet, cute little animals with funny bandit faces, but cute is in the eye of the beholder. Just because you put a Lone Ranger mask and a fluffy striped tail on a rat doesn’t make it any less of a rat. Actually that’s unfair to rats which are, I admit, pretty cute with their long noses that give them an inquisitive look. Raccoons are more like badgers, and nobody likes badgers. Trust me. Ask anybody on the street what they think of badgers and they’ll say, "Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers!"
But I digress. What were the raccoons doing on the patio anyway? Maybe they were there to eat the citronella candles, and for that I would have been grateful. Citronella candles are marketed as being mosquito repellent, but I think it’s a conspiracy to sell surplus citronella which, during World War I, was used to make nylon stockings. I’m pretty sure the industry wouldn’t want this to get out, but citronella is manufactured from the stuff that isn’t even considered acceptable for hot dogs. And it actually attracts mosquitoes. Light up a citronella candle and the mosquitoes immediately know there’s at least idiotic human who wants to relax outside in the glow of a nice candle and not be eaten alive. Citronella candles come in all kinds of shapes, but to mosquitoes they all say the same thing: "All you can eat buffet!" After all the term "citronella" is derived from the car brand "Citroen", which is French for "explodes ten minutes after leaving the dealer’s lot". But I digress. I’ve got a pretty good idea why the raccoons were sniffing around my patio, though, and it has to do with an even lower form of rodent, the land developer. There used to be some wooded areas near my home that were large enough that I’m pretty sure I heard "Dueling Banjos" being played there once. Now they’ve cut it all down and put up warehouse stores and fast food restaurants and they’re currently planning to turn the entire area into an exact replica of the Las Vegas strip. So even though I don’t like them I feel bad for the raccoons. And, next to the land developers, I have to admit they do look kinda cute.