I’ve never actually heard anyone say this out loud, but I’m pretty sure that people think of me as the strong, silent type; the kind of man that doesn’t need to be told what to do in a moment of crisis, he just does it.
It happened again this week. When we went out on our deck on Thursday morning, we smelled the unmistakable odor of a dead animal carcass. It appeared to be coming from underneath our deck.
“What should we do?” my wife asked.
I patted her on the head, and told her not to worry. “Your man will take care of this,” I said.
She batted her eyes and held her heart with her hands. She didn’t need to say a word. I could see the comfort and admiration in her eyes.
I called the boys into a huddle.
“Fellas,” I said. “Battle stations. Tommy, get the stabilizing rod from my tool bench. Johnny, heavy duty garbage bag. Sean, you’re going to be my eyes during the recon. Check?”
“Check,” they all replied.
I held onto Sean’s leg as he scooted under the deck. “It’s a dead possum, dad,” he confirmed.
“Just as I suspected. Come back up here, boy, it’s time for man’s work.”
I held my hand out and Tommy placed the stabilizing rod in my hand. He nodded knowingly. Johnny stood by with the garbage bag.
“I’m going in,” I said. I got down on my belly and extended the rod underneath the deck until the hooks at the end of rod made contact with the rotting flesh. The odor would have made a lesser man vomit or gag, but I was in the zone. I clamped onto that critter and pulled it out in one quick motion. Chunks of fur scattered–the decomposition had begun–but I was not deterred. Within moments the object of our olfactory disdain was in plain sight.
“Back up boys,” I said as it emerged into the warm spring sun.
The boys averted their eyes. I did not. The work gloves covering my calloused workman hands reached down and picked up the Possum by the nasty tail.
“Open the bag, Johnny,” I said.
He turned away and opened the bag, and with a simple plop, the possum was in its heavy duty plastic coffin. Another problem effortlessly taken care of by the man of the house.
When Bridget came back outside, she was in awe of my courage. I stopped her before the praise got too embarrassing.
“I was just doin’ my job, ma’am,” I said. The quiet hero would rather take a bullet than another compliment from another admiring female fan. “This is no different than when we hear a strange sound in the middle of the night and I grab the baseball bat, or when someone needs to climb on the roof to fix an electrical short, there are just times when a man knows what needs to be done, and he just does it.”
“My hero,” she said, her eyelashes fluttering.
And that’s exactly how it went down.
At least that’s how I remember it. It was several days ago now.
I might have also asked my facebook friends to recommend an animal removal service, and I may have paid the first one I found to get rid of the possum for us so that I didn’t have to touch the icky, smelly, nasty puffball of stink myself.
I can’t remember which.