I grew up in the country, on a gravel road about a quarter of a mile from an old highway, with the nearest house to us being at least a quarter mile down the road. It is fair to say that I grew up at a pretty “boondockified” place in the world. It is very secluded and private, in which I have enjoyed for the most part throughout the years.
Not only is our house located a pretty lengthy ways from other humans, but it is hidden behind a row of tall evergreen trees. You can’t see our house from the highway due to it being hidden behind the evergreen trees. It’s actually pretty neat. I had issues with living there when I was younger because our house was located so far from town, therefore I had no one to play with growing up other than my younger brother Justin (thank God for him) and our stupid cats. However, I have liked living there since receiving my driver’s license.
Once I started figuring out how nosey most people are, I started feeling thankful for living in private conditions. If I want to run around the house or even go outside and mow the yard in my underwear, then so be it. I’ll do it, because I’m comfy-cozy in my underwear and I don’t have any nosey neighbors laughing at me when I am outside in my whitey-tighties and work boots trying to fix a flat tire in my driveway.
With private living conditions, comes an array of wildlife. Around our house we have an abundance of cats and horses as pets. We also have a pet dog. She is a goofy, ass-smelling white boxer named “Tori.” In our perimeter there are also raccoons, opossums, cows, deer, squirrels, birds, turtles, snakes, coyotes, rats, groundhogs, etc. My mom even claims that she almost ran over a mountain lion with our truck a couple weeks ago. The big word on the street (gravel road) is that the DNR themselves placed a family of mountain lions in our area in an attempt to control the deer population. I have no idea if there is any truth to that, but the last thing I want to be worrying about at this point in my life, is walking out to my car at night and being attacked by some crazy cougar. I have yet to see one and am calling my mom’s bluff on the mountain lion situation. I think her vision is declining. She probably saw something that’s normally seen around Iowa, like a kangaroo.
Most of the animals in the area can be classified as “pests.” Everybody hates at least one of the animals I mentioned. Farmers hate deer and rabbits because they eat their crops. My mom hates opossums because they poop in the hay in our barn and make the horses sick when they eat it. My dad hates squirrels because they are dumb asses. Tori the dog hates cats because they scratch and hiss at her when she tries playing with them. Out of all the animals in our area, the animals that annoy me the most are undoubtedly the coyotes.
Coyotes are total smart asses. The feelings I experience when I am outside at night and hear coyotes howling range from fear to embarrassment. I venture outside to retrieve the mail late at night quite often. My dad sleeps during the day due to working 3rd shift and my mom usually doesn’t get home from work until 6:30 PM. At the Swafford residence it is a regular occurrence if the mail is unattended until 10-11 at night. Usually by that time, I will think, “hey, maybe my Maxim, Sports Illustrated or Rolling Stone magazines were delivered.”
When I open the door and exit our house to make the long walk to the mailbox, I start having second thoughts when I hear the shrieks and howls of what seems to be one-hundred coyotes. Our mailbox is located approximately 75-100 feet away from the front door of our house, but it feels like a mile when you are walking down our creepy 100 year old sidewalk to the sounds of coyote shrieks.
When you are walking your way to the mailbox, these coyotes sound as if they are intentionally trying to freak you out. They howl at you. They are the kinds of gruesome howls you hear in horror movies right before someone is brutally murdered.
I have to motivate myself to stay relaxed as I am making my way down the sidewalk to the mailbox. The closer I get, the louder they howl. As I take the first couple steps, I start thinking to myself “relax Joshua, they are just coyotes, they are more scared of you than you are of them.” After about 10 steps I start thinking, “its’ ok Joshua, even if they do come after you, you are close enough to the house where they can’t catch you if you decide to run away.” The coyotes continue to howl. When I am within a few steps of the mailbox, my thinking starts slipping into panic mode. I go from trying to calm myself down to thinking, “Fuck off you fucking coyotes! Just leave me the fuck alone and let me get the fucking mail you fucking fuck-faced fuckers! Leave me alone! Ahhhhh!!!!!” Then comes the moment when I actually reach the mailbox and grab the mail. Right after grabbing whatever is in the mailbox, the coyotes are usually howling in full effect, and I do what any courageous muscle-bound man would do… I run as fast as I can back to the house with a grimace on my face that paints a perfect picture of the terror I am experiencing.
While running back to the house, I shit you not, the coyotes change their tone. Instead of howling, they start yipping. In other words, on the way there I hear a spectrum of howls, and as I run back to the house at lightning speed I hear, “Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip!!!!” It sounds as if they are freaking laughing at me. As if they wanted to scare me on the way there, and while I start to run away they think it’s the funniest thing ever. Assholes. Filling my heart full of terror is all a big game to those douche bags. That is why I think coyotes are smart asses and I can’t stand them. When I compose myself enough to check the mail, the only mail for me usually ends up being stupid college loan bills.
So one morning, about a year ago, I strolled out of the house and went on my way to work, and guess what I saw lying on the highway right where my gravel road ends? That’s right, a dead coyote. Well, at least it appeared to be dead. My first thought was, “haha look who’s laughing now you punk ass coyote!!!” Then my empathy started kicking in. I briefly considered moving the coyote to the side of the road, so the thing wouldn’t be repeatedly run over by other vehicles. When I pulled my car a little closer to it, I decided that moving it to the side of the road was probably not such a bright idea because I couldn’t fully determine if the thing was dead or not. I didn’t want to walk over to it and have it jump up and bite my penis when I was close. It appeared to have been hit within 10 minutes of my arrival. I decided to just drive off and let someone else take care of it.
I got off work around 5:00 PM that day, and when I arrived to the spot where I saw the dead coyote earlier on, the whole area was a mess. It looked as if a massacre had taken place. There was blood and pieces of coyote everywhere. It was disgusting. The scene looked like the cover of a Cannibal Corpse CD. For those of you who are unaware, Cannibal Corpse is a death metal band that sings about pleasant topics such as killing people and violating their corpses. They are the screaming band playing on “Ace Ventura Pet Detective” when Ace comes in and starts doing that funny air-guitar dance. They are not really anything I would ever get into. I have a high tolerance for pretty much everything and even I consider them to be despicable. However, I have seen their CD’s in stores, and the scene of this dead coyote on the road looked like it could have fit in perfectly with some of their album covers. By this point, moving the coyote to the side of the road wasn’t even an option. In fact, it was such a complete mess that moving it aside would be impossible.
After a few days, the dead coyote was unrecognizable. It just looked like a perfectly circular, furry, brown pizza. You could literally take one of those pizza spatula flippers they use at pizza places and flip the damn thing over, and it would still look like a perfectly circular, furry, brown pizza. After a few months went by, it became a faint stain on the road. A year has gone by now, and you can still barely detect a stain on the road where this coyote was slaughtered by a numerous amount of cars and trucks.
This situation really made me think. I never thought that I would be too picky about how I am treated after I die, but after observing what happened to this coyote after it died, I have kind of reconsidered my thoughts on this.
For example, if you ever see me lying dead on the road, please at least have the decency to push me to the shoulder of the road. I don’t want to end up like that coyote. In other words, I don’t want to be an observable display of degradation. I also would rather be buried instead of cremated. There are two reasons for this.
1.) What if I had some sort of “brainiac” great-great-great-great-great grandkid who discovered how to successfully clone people? What if he read some of my blogs and wanted to meet me? He would have no chance of meeting me if I was cremated.
2.) What if that “Night of the Living Dead” scenario came true and all the dead people became zombies? If I was buried, I would be a really cool zombie. If I was cremated, I would just be this grouchy dust cloud looking thing floating around in the air. If I were a zombie, I wouldn’t be one of those who came looking for people so they could eat them. I would be more like one of those zombies from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. I would spend the majority of my time pulling all sorts of sweet dance moves.
When I am dead and buried, I don’t want to be bothered by any stupid animals either. I don’t want any dogs taking a whiz on my grave. I don’t want any cats burying their turds in my dirt. I don’t want any squirrels burying nuts in my dirt, because I freaking hate nuts. Bring me some enchiladas you stupid squirrels! If any worms feel the need to mess with me, I may become a zombie who wants to go fishing. If any birds lay their eggs near my gravesite, I may become a zombie who has an appetite for omelets. If a snapping turtle found a way to mess with me, I may become a zombie with the speed of Usain Bolt, because I am scared to death of snapping turtles. One thing is for damn sure though, coyotes better leave me the hell alone. They have bothered me enough already.