We often post serious commentaries, but this isn’t one of those (unless you are a member of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA). I was alerted to this non-serious issue by a Rich Tosches editorial in the Denver Post. He writes that he engaged in so much New Year “…over-the-top partying and so much wild and crazy hooting and hollering that many of the other residents of my assisted living center complained.” He then adds that what was missing was the lowering of an unattractive animal from a pole at midnight…in an Appalachian village in North Carolina.” The organizer of the possum drop stopped fighting PETA lawsuits that claimed the shy animal was left out in the cold and could also be “startled” by the fireworks and band. The organizer decided to put a dead possum or possum stew in the plexiglass box, but Tosches doesn’t report on the selected alternative. He does manage, as he often does, to close his editorial with comments that I found irritating.
I hope Tosches won’t be insulted that I found much of the editorial to be so silly that I checked to see whether there were other articles on the subject. Sure enough, David Zucchino has a confirmation. He adds that PETA claimed that even though the possums are released after the drop that “…they may die later of capture ‘myopathy,’ a cascading series of catastrophic physical reactions to stress or trauma.” Healthcommunities.com explains, “Skeletal muscle weakness is the hallmark of most myopathies.” I’ve failed at trying to imagine how a possum could become so frightened that it would develop muscle weakness and die.
This makes me want to look for something important for future commentaries.