Possums, Toads, Or Athletes, You Can’t Tell A Book By Its Cover

Hi folks,

I find some of the most interesting things via Twitter, and StumbleUpon is pretty good too. This morning I was reading an article that was tweeted to me by @DanielSharkov, a regular source of useful information, as a link to Site Sketch 101. The article was entitled, ‘Chez Ollie‘ I read this brief narrative, which was well written and encouraged us to use our sense of observation in order to avoid unnecessary problems in life. To judge based on appearances, but this approach can misfire.

"Opossums are more scary than harmful doing very little damage to homes or property." From: http://goo.gl/Tr9Un

Consider possums and toads, neither of which are overtly attractive or beautiful by human standards. It is a fact that people generally attribute value to animals based on their ‘cuteness factor.’ This is not only sad, it can be disastrous for non-cute species that come our way. I don’t hear people expressing dismay at the site of a dead possum on the highway, whereas they often do for a dog, a cat or ‘Bambi.’ I always feel a little upset when I encounter possums as road kill. They are the most delightful and gentle creatures. As the only marsupial in North America, possums are good mothers, carrying their young in a pouch or strung out along their tail on their back, and they make the most delightful grunting sounds when foraging. These remarkable creatures also play possum, which I saw several time in the jaws of my dog who was proudly showing off his ‘kill.’ The dog loses interest in the limp body, shakes it a bit and wanders off, and a few minutes later the apparently defunct possum comes around, becomes rapidly alert and heads for cover. It is a most effective trick. What’s not to like about a possum?

Then we come to toads. For a while I had a very large vegetable garden, about a third of an acre. In the morning I would come out to water my plants, and there awaiting me were lots, and I mean lots, of toads. They knew I was coming, they knew I was not a threat, and they knew I was going to spray them gently with water from the hose. They loved it, closing their eyes with heads raised towards the stream of water. They also help to keep down garden pests. It turns out that toads like to have their backs scratched, too.

All living organisms are beautiful in their own way, including athletes. I’ve seen all types, and been dropped by all types. For instance, watch out in the pool if someone really overweight gets in the next lane and you think, “Boy I wonder if they can swim?” You’d be surprised – they are often ex-college swimmers who have decided to get back in shape. They can put you to shame simply by having much superior stroke mechanics, and they float better than lean people. I have also noticed that some overweight runners travel quite fast for a long time. When you spot one of the remarkable people, take advantage of the opportunity to learn something about optimal body mechanics. They are heavy, but they seem to kind of float along. I have also passed many Adonis-like youngsters in Ironman races, bonked on the side of the road, sometimes vomiting. They looked good at the start line but they didn’t know what they were doing. In this case, stop for a minute and try to persuade them to eat something (I carry an extra Hammer Gels for this), the very last thing they want to do and the very thing that they need to do. They’ll say thanks after the race, which always feels good.

So use your observations wisely, be kind to toads and possums, and don’t think that you can always tell a book by its cover.

-k Your Medical Mind


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.