Year C Epiphany Matthew 2 2013
A Baby Changes Everything
Never leave dry dog food or cat food outside overnight. If you do, chances are that sooner or later something other than your furry family member will amble up to help themselves.
One of the most startling creatures to belly-up to the kibble buffet is the opossum.'Possums aren't particularly dangerous to humans (unless they are rabid). But they have mastered the art of looking scary. Flick on the porch light and catch a possum snout down in the dog's bowl and you will be rewarded with glowing red eyes, snarling sharp teeth, grisly growling, and a horrible hissing sound. Not to mention the fact that a possum looks a whole lot like a huge, giant rat. It's actually a marsupial, more related to a kangaroo or a koala bear. Opossums are to koala bears what raccoons are to red panda bears. But after one nighttime encounter with a startled opossum, you'll think "Rat."
But if you step slowly outside to confront the critter, instead of rushing it and leaving it feeling cornered, the possum is far more likely to suddenly shift from scary to supine. The phrase, "playing possum" comes from the very real defensive technique possum's employ when they are confronted by a larger opponent. They fall over, go stiff, and for all the world, look as dead as a doornail. The possum's strategy is that if they look like they are dead and gone, then their enemy will give them a sniff or two and then leave them there to rot. When the danger — whether a person, a dog, a cat, or a car — has passed, the possum miraculously comes back to life and trundles off — after finishing the remainder of Fido's food, of course.
"Playing possum" is a trait human's have mastered as well...