A Canadian radio host slash humorist attended a three day writers’ workshop. The hotel she stayed in had comfortable accommodations, good food, and great company – three hundred twenty three humor columnists from United States of America and her native Canada. And a raccoon. Rocky the raccoon.
This is a story about that writer. This is a story about Rocky. This is a story about that writer’s encounter with Rocky the raccoon. This is a story about one lone humorist’s very special take on the writer – raccoon encounter. This is a story about that lone humorist’s parents getting the last laugh when they read her humor column this month. For this a story that proves them right when they told her husband “That girl’s not right”.
I was sitting at dinner with this lovely radio host slash humorist as she recounted an exercise she had written for one of the workshop sessions. The exercise challenged the writer to develop ideas for essays by starting sentences with “this is a story about”. Her story was about a raccoon, the aforementioned Rocky, who had spent his evening keeping her awake.
Rocky, a young raccoon just emerging from fragile raccoon adolescence, tried all night to launch himself from a tree outside the radio host’s hotel window to some out of reach shelter. Tried was the operative word, for he kept landing smack against her window, wailing a frantic eee-eee-eee as he slid down.
Our radio hostess was recounting her sleepless night, courtesy of her raccoon buddy, Rocky, when my mind started churning. Instead of seeing an epic struggle between a young mammal teetering on the brink of adulthood, and the encroachment of human society, I saw a far different struggle. A struggle so wrong, that I almost kept silent. Almost, but not quite.
Rocky the raccoon was indeed a young mammal on the verge of adulthood, but shelter was not what our hero was seeking. He was seeking love, and he wasn’t going to let a mere window separate him from the object of his passion. The “eee-eee-eee” our host heard was the pained, repeated uttering of her name as he failed, yet again, to find his way into her world.
What began as a family-friendly tale of nature and our expanding society deteriorated into a sordid tale of forbidden, inter-species desire, a passion that could never be, a love that dared not speak its name. I apologized for my inappropriate interpretation of her wildlife encounter, but I doubt she heard me. She was far too busy coughing up a lung.
We spoke again over breakfast, my Canadian friend and I. I felt compelled to apologize for taking her exercise to a place it was never meant to be. I needn’t have bothered. Rocky had made a repeat visit, and after a sleepless night, my friend decided to check out the scene of the critter’s attempted break and enter. That rascally male mammal had set up house near her hotel room window, and just as I suspected, he had returned to woo his intended lady love. As she recounted Rocky’s fruitless efforts, I just had to push the envelope. “What did you expect?”, I said. “Once you go Canadian, you never go back”.
At that precise moment, the clouds parted, and sunlight streamed down upon my parents, as they were proven right. Ask my friend, she’ll tell you – That girl’s not right.