Saturday, August 18, 2007

I was just surfing the 'net, and happened upon this blog with some thoughts about 'possum living, which says in part:

"So why use a 'possum as an example of living frugally? By the way, it is 'possum. Only biologists and such use the 'correct' name opossum. Well, a 'possum (the North American variety is the type I'm talking about) is a very resourceful critter. So well adapted to life that they haven't changed for many millennia. I have read about some of the 'possum's ancestors that lived in the same times as the saber-toothed tiger and wooly mammoth. 'Possums that stood 8 feet tall, and could be pretty nasty (Oppossumus maximus nastius?) . But obviously the more diminutive cousin of these monstrosities were better equipped for survival, for I've never heard of a modern day sighting of the big ones.

A 'possum is an omnivore, which is a nice way to say that they'll eat anything. They tend to be nocturnal. The picture I've included shows that even a 'possum can have their cuter moments. But with a long hairless tail, fur that looks like a dirty dustmop and a thin bony face, they'll most likely not win the best looking critter award. But we're talking survival here. If I had my choice between livin' and eatin' versus good looks, I'd take livin' and eatin' every time.

They also have the famous survival tactic of 'playing dead'. I've seen 'possums do this, and it is a strange sight. They go into convulsions, keel over, hang out their tongue and roll their eyes. Sure looked like it was dead to me. Biologists still don't know why they do it, or whether it is really 'playing 'possum', or it is a bodily reaction to stress. But be forewarned, 'possums don't always play dead. Sometimes they get quite aggresive when cornered, and with a mouthful of needle-like teeth they can do some damage. They also on occasion hiss like a snake. A most disagreeable sound. So what possesses a 'possum to decide whether to play dead, hiss, or fight? Nobody knows. Perhaps a 'possum, like a human, gets up on the wrong side of the bed and is cranky, or maybe they just don't want to deal with things. In any case, their defensive mechanisms have no doubt been a factor in the species' longevity.

Some 'possum living skills pointers:

* Live on the cheap. You'd be surprised how little you can live on if you really try.
* Get your priorities straight. You want to keep working all of your life at a job you hate, or do you want the opportunity to be like a 'possum in a persimmon tree? Folks from the south have told me that when the persimmons get ripe, the 'possums are happy. Find out what makes you happy. What are your 'persimmons'?
* Pick your battles wisely. Know when to hiss, to be aggressive, to play dead.
* Don't neglect the night. Sit outside in the dark once in awhile. There are less visual distractions at night, and you can think better.
* Good looks aren't nearly as important as getting enough to eat."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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