Monday, March 14, 2011

Overheard in the library

Raccoon opening box

I recently overheard a conversation among some third grade boys that was too good not to share.  The names have been changed* to protect the innocents.  It was a Friday afternoon and for some reason a few boys had come in advance of the rest of their class, and I was waiting for everyone else to arrive before I began the story. Someone must have mentioned raccoons because suddenly Gonta said "My uncle was killed by a raccoon."  Oroku considered this and responded that it is impossible to be killed by a raccoon.  Gonta replied with "what about rabies?"  Oroku considered this and stuck to his guns responding that you can't actually die of rabies, you just get very sick.  Gonta responded that it wasn't rabies that killed his uncle anyway, but rather that his uncle shoved a raccoon down his throat and choked on it.  Oroku then nodded his head sagely and responded that if that is the case, then it is indeed possible to die from a raccoon.  You just can't die from a raccoon bite.

I love how Oroku was so skeptical of the story at first and then in the end accepted a completely outlandish explanation.  Especially because Rabies is actually very deadly, although I'm sure shoving a raccoon down your gullet isn't a very good idea either.  I wonder if it was living or dead at the time.  I doesn't really matter because I'm pretty sure no one would do so either way.  At least the class afterwards went well (I read "LAFF" by Lensey Namioka from Avi's collection Best Shorts and it was enjoyed by all.)

*I replaced their real names with the names of the characters from the movie Pom Poko, which is also full of disturbing raccoon imagery

image credit: Gerald_G via

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