Saturday, 6 September 2008

Respect All Creatures Great and Small

This week internationally has been dominated by the gun toting would be American Vice President Sarah Palin, evidently 'a pitbull with lipstick.' I personally cannot grasp as to whether she is typical of American women. If she is so God help America.
Much more interesting was a story concerning a bunch of bananas in a Co-op store in Chatham, Kent. A large spider was discovered, eventually identified as a dangerous arachnid from South America, Phoneutria nigriventer. Aggressive, not unlike our friend Sarah, it was coaxed into a separate box to await the RSPCA.
The incident reminded me of my years as a young trainee with F W Woolworth 's. Insect life was also of interest to Woolworth’s on the fruit and vegetable scene. We trainees were shown examples of exotic and often dangerous creatures likely to hitch a ride in bananas and other fruit from their tropical abodes. My education enhanced on learning they were in fact called arthropods. I was therefore delighted, early in my Woolworths education when I espied a large, ginger, numerous legged, lively arthropod in a box of newly arrived bananas. I coaxed him, for I had decided he was male into a matchbox with the aid of a stick, not an easy task due to his size and aggression. I transported my prize to the store manager’s office. Surely to be awarded praise indeed for initiative and dedication to duty. I burst into the office without ceremony, retrieved the box from my pocket and with a triumphant “Have you seen this!” placed the box on the boss’s desk and opened it carefully, a little at a time, until, fully opened, it revealed, absolutely nothing! Just an empty box a and a panic stricken trainee who spent the next fifteen minutes stripped off, completely and utterly engaged in a frantic search for an unhappy myriapod that was never to be seen again!
Strangely enough the Chatham incident made me think of the, to me, scary Sarah. The spider reminded me of her, aggressive to the core. But the attitude of some customers was interesting too. No "What a fabulous creature." No "Isn't nature wonderful." No, the customers retort was "We'll kill it for you." How brave of them, but not very British, lads.
The connection to Sarah Palin? I saw in the paper a picture of Sarah's parents in their cosy little abode. Present were more animals than in the local forest. On the sofa cum settee the largest bear skin imaginable; on the walls at least two more; plus animal skulls, horns and what looked suspiciously like a sheep. The latter not exactly the most dangerous species in the world. Definitely not, for the most dangerous species ever born would be at the other end of the gun.
If I see one more picture of the woman posing, proudly grinning over any animal corpse whatsoever I promise you my screams will be heard the other side of the Atlantic. With the right, no wrong luck this woman could be the most powerful person on planet earth. Hand me my gun, only I've never owned one since I grew up; some of us do.


Marian Dean said...

I do so enjoy your little stories. My parents had a fruit and florist shop in the 50's and I too saw the most enormous 'thing' scurry off from a wooden crate of bananas, never to be seen again. No one believed me!

Grumpy Old Ken said...


I'm never sure what I'm doing. Thanks for the comments. I go where my mind takes me. More or less in the bungalow. Awful problems re selling the old house. But its only a house after all. Then I can get back to writing and living. Amused by your piece I've just come across re sale of car. As they say, thats life! Took the name grumpyoldken so I can have a rant sometimes! Who was it who sang 'Keep right on to the end of the road.'

Still learning blogging. All this link business loses me.


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