There is the oft heard phrase: knowledge is power. And perhaps that is true. But what I say is: knowledge breeds fear. This I know to be true. For example, at one point in my life I was fine with a little mold. In cheese, I would shave off the slightly discolored part and continue with business as normal. In bread, I would discard the offending slices. Mold, in my mind, was just there—a periodic occurrence that had to be dealt with. And then I took my introductory biology class in college. What I recognized before as slight discoloration was in fact the breeding spores of an invasive, complex, and all-encompassing matrix of cells. The macroscopic coloration was in fact the white flag of surrender—indicating the food’s complete capitulation to the parasitic invasion of the microscopic fungi. Mold, which was previous viewed as more or less benign, now became something dark and insidious.
So it was with raccoons and squirrels. I use to view raccoons and squirrels as cute, furry animals straight out of a Walt Disney cartoon. When encountering on them on my morning runs, I would smile and rejoice in my bucolic surroundings.
“And then……came then……..” This piece on This American Life (see act 1). Now I view them all as potentially murderous and evil. So, I wasn’t very surprised to get this email today from our assistant director at the lab:
“Heads-Up - there is a mangy strange-acting raccoon that is wandering around campus. He is currently hidden in the Generator next to FRC. Please avoid contact with the animal.”
Of course the raccoon is “mangy” and “strange-acting.” It is best that people learn sooner rather than later that all raccoons are like this, and they are most likely rabid as well.