I think I speak for my outdoor trash cans when I say that they have no intention of ever being scary. They stand there, tucked between the adjoining corner of my backyard fencing, bleakly colored tan and gray. In fact, they are quite content to stay in the yard, only being moved on the eve of trash day. They require very little.
So, you can imagine my disappointment – and certainly the disappointment of one trash can – when, on a crisp autumn day, the contents held within it sent me sprinting back from whence I came, in a full-throated little-girl scream.
“What is the matter with you?” asked my wife, once I reached the safety of our home.
“There is a gigantic raccoon in the trash can!” I screamed, still shaking.
“How are you going to get it out?” she replied.
My initial reaction was to leave the animal in there. He got himself into this mess, he could try getting himself out of it, I thought. However, we were still several days away from trash collection, and part of me wanted to help the overweight, bug-eyed trash eater. The other part of me wanted to put our house on the market and move to Canada.
I respect my trash man far too much to allow him to unknowingly open the can to dump its contents, only to become as freaked out as I had been by what lurked inside. No, I thought. I need to man up and handle this situation. And, since my neighbor wasn’t available to be a man for me, I had to do this – alone.
I stepped back outside, with thoughts of getting pummeled by a rabid raccoon repeating in my head. I grabbed a teak chair from my porch as I approached the can. What I was going to do with the chair remained a mystery.
The three faces belonging to my wife and children, pressed against the safe side of the kitchen window, were clearly concerned for their loved one – or just interested in seeing what was going to happen next.
There was no way I was going to open the can’s lid and allow a projectile raccoon to come at me. I needed a plan that would ensure my safety. That’s when I devised the grandest plan of any plan ever, in all of mankind.
For this brilliant plan to be effective, I would need the already acquired teak chair, a broom handle, and the guile and courage of a Kodiak bear. Fortunately, I had the former two items. The third item was, and always has been, missing from my arsenal.
I dragged the half empty trash can containing my little friend into the middle of the yard. I laid the can flat on a downslope and placed the teak chair directly behind the bottom of the can. Standing on the chair, I bent forward and used the broom handle to open the lid. (I have awkwardly long arms). With this maneuver, there was just enough of an opening for the raccoon to amble out. He scurried away, but before he disappeared out of sight, he turned towards me and gave me two thumbs up.
Okay, raccoons can’t really give you thumbs up, but I could tell he was grateful – so grateful, in fact, that he returned that evening for dinner.